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.
Clayton Kershaw had nothing left to prove when he exited the mound during his last Cactus League start on Friday. He finished camp with a 0.00 ERA, made all the more impressive after he extended his scoreless streak to 21 1/3 innings following 6 2/3 frames of one-hit ball against the Royals.
In six spring training starts this year, the Dodgers southpaw racked up 12 hits, four walks and 23 strikeouts. His velocity appeared to fluctuate between the high-80s and low-90s from start to start, but manager Dave Roberts told reporters that he expects Kershaw to get back up to the 93 m.p.h. range next week. Kershaw is tabbed for his eighth consecutive Opening Day start on Thursday.
The 30-year-old lefty is poised to enter his 11th season with the club in 2018. He went 18-4 in 27 starts last year and turned in a 2.31 ERA, 1.5 BB/9 and 10.4 SO/9 over 175 innings. He suffered his fair share of bumps and bruises along the way, including a lower back strain that required a five-week stay on the disabled list.
The Dodgers will open their season against the Giants on Thursday, March 29 at 7:08 PM ET. Given the sudden rash of injuries that hit the Giants’ rotation earlier today, Kershaw’s Opening Day opponent has not yet been announced.