Brian Wilson makes Dodgers debut
Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Brian Wilson pitched a scoreless ninth inning in the Dodgers' 6-0 win over the Miami Marlins on Thursday, his first appearance in the majors since undergoing Tommy John surgery in April 2012.
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The former Giants closer was sharp in his Dodgers debut, striking out two of the three batters he faced, including slugger Giancarlo Stanton. He gave up a double to pinch hitter Greg Dobbs but blew a 94 mph fastball past center fielder Justin Ruggiano to end the game.
"It was an arduous process, but I'm glad I went through it so I can appreciate baseball even more," Wilson said after the game.
The Dodgers had been looking for the right situation for Wilson to make his debut since calling him up Friday in Philadelphia. With ace Clayton Kershaw shutting down the Marlins for eight innings and a cushy six-run lead heading into the ninth, Thursday was as good of a time as any.
"I was really happy for him," Kershaw said. "That's not easy to be gone for almost two years. I'm sure there were some nerves going on for him, but it's cool to see a guy make it all the way back.
"He's pretty easy to get to know. He's a good guy. Good clubhouse guy, works hard. He fits right in with this group."
Wilson, 31, has 171 career saves but primarily will work in middle relief for the Dodgers. Young closer Kenley Jansen nailed down his 14th consecutive save in Wednesday night's 4-1 win and leads all relievers with 90 strikeouts and just 11 walks in 63 2/3 innings this season.
"He's going to be somebody that helps us out," Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis said of Wilson. "He's got a great demeanor on the mound. The guy's gotten the last outs in World Series games before, so he's somebody we can count on and know he won't get rattled. He's a great piece to have out there."
Wilson said he felt pretty normal Thursday despite the magnitude of the situation.
"I only have a brief moment out there, and I can either crumble or rise to the occasion," he said. "So you take a deep breath, and you try to rise to the occasion."
Wilson pitched in four minor league games before the Dodgers called him up, allowing one run in 4 1/3 innings.
"I've been ready for a while," Wilson said. "But if you want to talk about checklists, I guess this would be the final check."