Brian Wilson of the Dodgers pitches during the opening match of the 2014 season between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks at Sydney Cricket Ground on March 22nd in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)
Dodgers reliever Brian Wilson insists he’s healthy, but it’s clear after another bad outing Thursday night that something’s not right.
Wilson gave up four runs in the ninth inning to the Philadelphia Phillies, while only getting one out, in a 7-3 loss. The 32-year-old, known for his pirate-like, jet-black beard, is 0-2 this season, with a 15.75 ERA, and in four innings of work he has allowed seven earned runs.
The problems seemed to start after an appearance March 30th when Wilson blew a save against the San Diego Padres. Days later he was placed on the 15-disabled list with nerve irritation in his throwing elbow.
Wilson says the innings he pitched on a rehab assignment helped recoup his arm strength, but he admits he’s still a work in progress.
"As far as being locked in, I’m nowhere near it," Wilson said, adding, "I need more repetitions on a consistent basis, otherwise I’m not going to get locked in."
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly says he sees where Wilson is coming from with needing more consistency, but he’s been trying to protect Wilson by working him back gradually.
"It’s been a little tough to get regular, because his outings...one of them, I think, was 27 pitches, and...each of them has been a lot of pitches," Mattingly said. "As the appearances change we can stay more regular with him."
Mattingly, also, doesn’t believe Wilson’s health is the issue.
"I think he’s healthy," he said, adding, "If he’s not, he’s not telling us, and we’re not seeing it like that."
Catcher Tim Federowicz has caught Wilson enough to know he’s not himself.
"He’s just not getting to good pitchers counts, he’s falling behind and guys are just zoning middle and waiting for that pitch to hit," he says.
Wilson says he’s focused on the process of getting back to the form that saw him average nearly 41 saves between 2008 and 2011, and not the results of his latest performances.
"I just need to get to the point when everything is in sync," Wilson said. "I know what I’m capable of when my arm is in sync, and I just need to get there."