Brian Wilson says elbow bothered him throughout 2011

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Brian Wilson made the All-Star team for a third time last season and didn’t go on the disabled list until mid-August, but he admitted Monday that his elbow was problem for most of the year.

Asked why his strikeouts were down and his walks were up in 2011, Wilson replied, “Probably pitching with a hurt elbow the whole year, and a bad hip. You could blame a ton of things. But I’m the one throwing the ball.”

According to CSNBayArea.com’s Andrew Baggarly, Wilson threw a bullpen session at 75 percent today and was pleased with the results.

“I feel like I’m right on schedule,” Wilson said. “It’s a check on the checklist. It’s a standard bullpen. I don’t look too deep into it. But as far as pain, I was pain-free. No ailments, no tweaks, no inflammation.”

Boasting one of the game’s most expensive setup crews, the Giants can cover a Wilson injury pretty well between right-handers Sergio Romo and Santiago Casilla and lefties Jeremy Affeldt and Javier Lopez. Still, they’re at their best when Wilson is shutting opponents down in the ninth. Despite making just two appearances during the final six weeks of the season, Wilson ended 2011 with 36 saves in 41 opportunities. He was 48-for-53 in 2010.

Hideki Matsui thinks Shohei Otani should pitch and hit in MLB

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Yankees’ special advisor and former outfielder Hideki Matsui expects to help the club “convince or recruit” Japanese two-way star Shohei Otani, according to a report from MLB.com’s Deesha Thosar. The Yankees are currently viewed as the favorites to sign Otani, though there still figures to be plenty of competition for his services when he finally becomes eligible to enter Major League Baseball.

Matsui also told Thosar that while he hasn’t seen a player find success as a hybrid pitcher/slugger in the majors, he’s taken notice of Otani’s success in both areas. “He’s done well in Japan, so as a baseball fan I’m looking forward to how he’s going to do here in the Majors and in the U.S.,” Matsui said, later adding, “If [pitching and hitting is] something he wants to do, and the team wants it, then why not?”

Neither the Yankees nor any other suitor should be too concerned with Otani’s ability to translate his .332 batting average and 3.20 ERA to MLB — at least, not just yet. There are still a few roadblocks in his path to the major leagues, most notably the lack of approval from the Players Association. Per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, the union doesn’t want to sign off on an agreement that would give the Nippon Ham Fighters a $20 million posting fee in exchange for Otani’s services. According to the posting system rules, Otani himself would be eligible to receive no more than a $4 million signing bonus.

The good news in all of this? The union agreed to reach a final decision by Monday, November 21, so there’s still a chance Major League Baseball will see the talented two-way player bring his unique skillset to the field in 2018.