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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Brian Wilson Injury Mirrors Posey's Loss in 2011

Well, I won't quite categorize it as big of a loss as losing Buster last season was, but the news breaking Saturday that closer Brian Wilson has structural damage on his right elbow and is most likely headed under the knife for season-ending surgery.

Wilson first sustained the injury late last season, then really never recovered, as he was used sparingly in Spring Training, then in only a few games to start the year. His velocity had been down early on, and didn't quite look right in the games he did appear in. There's really nothing else the Giants are saying at this point other than there's structural damage to the right elbow and Wilson will be out indefinitely. He'll most likely hit the DL tonight, opening up the spot for Ryan Vogelsong to make his start tomorrow afternoon. They were carrying 8 relievers, so the swap of Wilson and Vogey won't require another reliever be called up as they'll be back at the normal seven that they typically carry. I can't help but think about last season's loss of Buster Posey when thinking about what Wilson's loss to this team will mean. The one upper-hand the Giants have with this one is that the Posey injury really decimated the Giants offense whereas at least the Giants are pretty deep in the bullpen, and showed last season that they could withstand short periods of getting by without their ace closer. Especially Santiago Cassilla, who may now move into that role again, though Sergio Romo, who's arguably the pen's most dominant arm now, could slide in there. However, once again, the Giants will be without a huge piece of their puzzle and a key to their expected playoff drive. There's really nothing else to say that doesn't just beat this issue into the ground, it's a rough loss early on and hopefully it doesn't hold the team back in any way. What makes this even tougher to swallow, is that Wilson is a free agent after the season and, I hope is not the case, may have played his last game in a Giants uniform. This really reminds me of Rob Nen's injury way back when, so hopefully he's back strong for 2013, wherever he's throwing.

Hopefully, the Giants use this injury like they used Posey's last year, as they really propelled after losing their catcher, and took control of the West for the better part of the first half of the season. Then we all know how the injury bug reared it's ugly head late last year, biting nearly every single important Giants' player at at least one point there. Now, not only does the rest of the bullpen have to step up as a whole, the Giants, as I said, need to figure out their long-term 9th inning situation or this season. Again, Cassilla could be the guy they turn to, though they also could use Sergio Romo, who's been ridiculously dominant the last couple of seasons. There's also flame-throwing youngster Heath Hembree (my first choice) lurking down in the minors, who's very close to being ML ready with 2 saves, no ERA and 4 K's in 3 games in Fresno thus far after a nice showing in Spring. Whether it's one of their own, or they go outside the organization for someone like a Francisco Rodriguez or Toronto's Fracisco Cordero, who just last year had 40 saves and a 2.45 ERA for the Reds. Those two would be the first two names I'd look at, in that order, as their proven closers with recent success each play for teams that have young closers already in that role. K-Rod, if healthy, has more effective stuff and is younger, but also more expensive than Cordero.
The Giants Baseball Blog


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