Brian Wilson acknowledges that he needs a second Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery

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Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle passes along this unfortunate series of updates on the status of Giants closer Brian Wilson:

It’s unfortunate timing for Wilson, who is eligible for arbitration for the final time in 2013 and stood to cash in big. But he should have enough time to prove his value before reaching free agency heading into 2014.

The 30-year-old righty has a 3.21 career ERA, a 9.6 career K/9 and 171 career saves. He underwent his first Tommy John surgery in 2003, before being selected in the 24th round of the ’03 draft. Giants manager Bruce Bochy told reporters Saturday that he will employ a committee in the ninth inning going forward.

No one pounds the zone anymore

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“Work fast and throw strikes” has long been the top conventional wisdom for those preaching pitching success. The “work fast” part of that has increasingly gone by the wayside, however, as pitchers take more and more time to throw pitches in an effort to max out their effort and, thus, their velocity with each pitch.

Now, as Ben Lindbergh of The Ringer reports, the “throw strikes” part of it is going out of style too:

Pitchers are throwing fewer pitches inside the strike zone than ever previously recorded . . . A decade ago, more than half of all pitches ended up in the strike zone. Today, that rate has fallen below 47 percent.

There are a couple of reasons for this. Most notable among them, Lindbergh says, being pitchers’ increasing reliance on curves, sliders and splitters as primary pitches, with said pitches not being in the zone by design. Lindbergh doesn’t mention it, but I’d guess that an increased emphasis on catchers’ framing plays a role too, with teams increasingly selecting for catchers who can turn balls that are actually out of the zone into strikes. If you have one of those beasts, why bother throwing something directly over the plate?

There is an unintended downside to all of this: a lack of action. As Lindbergh notes — and as you’ve not doubt noticed while watching games — there are more walks and strikeouts, there is more weak contact from guys chasing bad pitches and, as a result, games and at bats are going longer.

As always, such insights are interesting. As is so often the case these days, however, such insights serve as an unpleasant reminder of why the on-field product is so unsatisfying in so many ways in recent years.