SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Brian Wilson delivered a succinct message Sunday to anyone still concerned about his right elbow: Stop worrying.
The Giants closer made a seamless spring training debut, throwing an efficient nine-pitch scoreless inning during the club’s 7-5 victory over the Seattle Mariners.
Making Wilson’s sparkling start all the more notable was the fact that Buster Posey was his catcher, and both finished on an simultaneous up note in the fourth inning. Posey gunned down would-be base-stealer Carlos Peguero at second base on the pitch Wilson threw to strike out Seattle’s Vinnie Catricala.
“I like to see Buster back behind the dish, throwing people out, although the ideal situation is not to have a guy on, but I’ll take it,” said Wilson. “It’s been a long time since I’ve thrown to him, so it was kind of a nice little reunion, with good results.”
Wilson was slated to throw approximately 25 pitches but wasn’t disappointed that it turned out to be 16 less.
“I don’t think it matters how many pitches I throw as long as they’re all executed and thrown with conviction,” he said. “I had nine pitches today, but there was more intensity than a live B.P., and I got my three outs.”
Wilson will throw another inning Wednesday with the goal of making approximately 10 appearances before opening day. Whatever it turns out to be, he stresses that he is 100 percent healthy and there should be no concern about the elbow strain that limited him to just two appearances after Aug. 15. He was shut down permanently after a 10-pitch outing Sept. 21.
“I was confident about it last year when I was put on the shelf,” he said. “It was just a precautionary measure. I tried telling everybody it’s not a big deal, but people obviously want to see some action rather than just be told. So that’s what I’m doing right now. I know it’s still going to be on people’s mind. It’s just one inning. We’ll see how the next nine go.”
Manager Bruce Bochy said he saw he needed to see from Wilson.
“He was pretty proud of himself about those nine pitches,” he said.
– While he’s still looking for his first hit, Posey passed another test by catching four innings and 52 pitches total. With starter Eric Surkamp on the mound, Posey had a particularly long inning in the second but said it didn’t faze him.
“It’s just nice to have some different situations,” he said. “As much as I want every inning to be 1-2-3, I think for my own sake, it’s good to have a little bit longer innings just to test it a little bit.”
Posey said he was happy with the way his ankle felt after his longer stint and said the plan will be to catch four more innings Tuesday. If there was a notable improvement in this latest outing, he said it was his running to first base on two ground outs.
“I felt more comfortable getting out of the box today than I did a couple of days ago,” he said.
As for his peg that nailed Peguero to end the fourth, he said it wasn’t a major deal.
“That part feels normal, like it did before I was injured,” he said.
Even though he went 0 for 2 – his follow-up to facing Cincinnati’s Aroldis Chapman was to get Seattle ace Felix Hernandez – Posey said he felt good at the plate and that he’s seeing the ball well.
“We’ll check on him (Monday) to see how he came through it, but he looked comfortable and made a great throw,” Bochy said. “It was a good day for him to go four innings. It looks like he’s over the hump.”
– Freddy Sanchez took batting practice and did infield work, although he’s still throwing gingerly. He’s scheduled to make his first start at second base later in the week.
– Ryan Vogelsong (back) threw another bullpen session and probably will have one more before he pitches to live hitters.
Bochy said the hope is to get Vogelsong three spring outings and at least get him up to five innings before the season starts. If necessary, his turn could be skipped because the club won’t need a fifth starter until April 14.
– Nate Schierholtz, who hasn’t played in two days with what he said was a bruised hip, is scheduled to return to game action Monday.
– Surkamp’s third outing of the spring was his best _ three innings, three hits and one run allowed with no walks and three strikeouts.
– Hector Sanchez hit his second and third homers of the spring.