Brian Wilson’s first appearance this season was an extension of how he finished the 2013 season — dominating opposing hitters. Wilson threw one inning in the opening game of 2014 against the Arizona Diamondbacks, striking out two without giving up a hit in one inning of work.
The valuable setup man’s next game however was vastly different. Wilson relieved Hyun-Jin Ryu in the eighth inning of the Dodgers’ U.S. opener on March 30 and failed to maintain the Dodgers’ one-run lead, or record an out. It was a peculiar outing for Wilson, who had been nearly automatic since joining the Dodgers.
The Dodgers subsequently placed Wilson on the 15-day disabled list, with the notion he could complete rehab assignments and essentially go through a process he typically would under a normal spring training schedule, which the Dodgers did not have due to the Opening Series in Australia. According to Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register, Wilson is ready to join the team on Tuesday, when he’s eligible to be reinstated from the disabled list:
RHP Brian Wilson said he's ready to come off DL. "Those were the 5 outings I needed." Eligible on Tues. Difficult roster move for #Dodgers
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) April 13, 2014
As Plunkett notes, the Dodgers could soon face a difficult decision as to who Wilson should replace on the active roster. The team is still without their full complement of starting pitchers, which secures roster spots for any long relief pitchers. In terms of being able to option a player to Triple-A, Paco Rodriguez and Chris Withrow are two who could be sent down.
Withrow recently discussed his current status with the team and said he isn’t focused on how the roster situation may unfold for him. Despite Withrow’s performances this season, he would appear to be the pitcher set to be sent to the minors. Rodriguez is likely safe as he is one of just two left-handed relievers with valuable late-game experience.
Given his struggles last season, Brandon League has been widely labeled as one of the more ineffective relief pitchers on the roster, but his large contract would make him an expensive minor league pitcher. Prior to allowing three runs in the ninth inning on Saturday, League pitched well in previous two outings. The Dodgers made a concerted effort to assemble a deep bullpen in the off-season and now face a hardship with having too many options.
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