Brian Wilson #38 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Philadelphia Phillies in 2011. On Tuesday the Los Angeles Dodgers signed Wilson.
The debut of Brian Wilson -- and his beard -- in a Los Angeles uniform is getting closer. He could be available to join the streaking Dodgers as soon as this weekend, and will almost definitely be in the bullpen when the Dodgers return home to play the Red Sox next Friday.
While Wilson's deal caused waves amongst fans and media, the buzz has faded while he has been slowly brought along in Single-A Rancho Cucamonga and Triple-A Albuquerque for his minor league assignment.
When he does arrive with the Dodgers, his role will be much different than it was with the Giants before his Tommy John Surgery. Wilson was an elite closer, but Kenley Jansen has that position locked up in Los Angeles, so Wilson will join the core of Dodger relievers whose objective is "Get the ball to Kenley".
Manager Don Mattingly Tuesday discussed how clear the team has been with Wilson on that role.
"One of the things Ned (Colletti) talked about was, we know who are closer is. Pretty much everybody else's job is to get the ball to him," he said.
Wilson has been sidelined since early 2012. Of course he is not going to be slated into the closer role right away. Especially with Kenley Jansen, who has been lights out with a 0.96 ERA since May 25 and only allowed one base runner in his last 32 batters faced, with 18 strikeouts.
Part of the process to bringing Wilson along has been making sure he will be major-league ready. The first three of his four appearances were perfect, while his most recent on Tuesday was 1.1-inning outing with one hit allowed.
Another point Mattingly wanted to make clear on Tuesday is that this is not a test Wilson is going through during these minor league outings.
"It's more just getting him ready," he said.
"We know what this guy has been capable of in the past, I just think we're trying to make sure he has faced enough hitters and that he is comfortable coming into a game."
The final matter that will come around with his arrival is who will get removed from the major league roster for his spot. While it seems likely that rookie Chris Withrow will get optioned back to the minors, there is also the possibility of cutting Carlos Marmol, who has given up nine hits and four runs in seven innings pitched for Los Angeles.
As of Tuesday, there is not a definitive answer of when we will see Wilson, but it feels like it is getting close and even though the Dodgers bullpen has been stellar lately, he appears to be a valuable addition.