Dodgers reliever Brian Wilson was terrible in his season debut Sunday night versus the Padres. As it turns out, Wilson may have been dealing with more than simply not pitching well.
The Dodgers placed Wilson on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with nerve irritation in his right elbow. (As the joke went on Tuesday night, even Wilson’s nerves are irritated with him at this point.) According to the L.A. Times‘ Steve Dilbeck, no ligament damage was found in a MRI exam. That could be reason for optimism, but for a pitcher who’s had two Tommy John surgeries, any issue leads to concerns about a more serious injury.
Wilson didn’t record an out facing five batters on Sunday, giving up three runs (two earned), two hits (one of them a home run to Seth Smith) and a walk. His first appearance of the season went much better. Against the D-Backs in Australia, Wilson pitched a hitless inning, striking out two batters. As a result, the 32-year-old only has a 18.00 ERA after his implosion in San Diego.
For the Dodgers’ pitching staff, Wilson’s injury is another major setback. The team already lost Clayton Kershaw for at least a month with inflammation in his upper back. (The Dodgers’ lineup is also without Matt Kemp, who is still recovering from ankle surgery, though he’s expected to return by the end of the week.)
Ned Colletti’s desire to build bullpen depth during the offseason may pay off early on. Chris Perez will take over Wilson’s role as the eighth-inning setup man for closer Kenley Jansen. The former Indians closer hasn’t allowed a run or hit in his first two appearances of the season, striking out one batter over two-thirds of an inning. But the Dodgers signed Wilson to a one-year, $10 million deal (with a $9 million player option for 2015) hoping he would give the team a top-tier setup man and backup closer. For now, those plans are on hold.