Monday, May 2, 2011
Bobby Wilson, odd man out
By Mark Saxon
Remember Bobby Wilson, the backup catcher who spent all of 2011 with the Angels? Even he had to think long and hard before recalling the last time he started a game.
"April 10th, the day [Jered] Weaver struck out 15 guys," Wilson said.
Perhaps if Weaver had struck out 16, Wilson would have gotten more playing time.
Wilson has been the odd man out on the Angels' three-catcher roster, the one who virtually never plays. To stay ready in case he's needed, Wilson practices blocking balls in the dirt. He fields bunts every other day. Occasionally, he'll stand in the batter's box when one of the Angels' pitchers is throwing between starts, just to get a look at a 90 mph fastball since batting practice won't give him that.
"It's not a whole lot of fun, but I'm doing whatever I can do to show everyone I really do care," Wilson said. "I talk to the pitchers as much as possible. That's really all I can do. I think all the guys on this team know I care and I'm on top of things."
Angels manager Mike Scioscia admits carrying three catchers might not be ideal in the long run, especially if one of them rarely plays. The Angels are constrained for now, because Wilson is out of options and they're not certain how frequently Conger can catch because of a history of injuries.
Mathis, who started both of the last two seasons as the primary catcher but has lost time because he is batting just .180, isn't thrilled with the setup either. He got his second start in the last six games Monday night with Jered Weaver on the mound.
"Hank's been swinging the bat, playing great behind the plate so we're splitting time, but yeah, I want to be in there some more," Mathis said.