We can now officially welcome Brian Wilson and his beard back to Major League Baseball. The Los Angeles Dodgers activated the 31-year-old right-hander from the disabled list on Monday and added him to their bullpen.
Wilson signed with the Dodgers last month and has thrown 4.1 scoreless innings in the minors. He is reportedly fully recovered from Tommy John surgery, and ready to return to the big leagues. This is the second time Wilson has undergone and recovered from Tommy John surgery in his career.
“The Beard” will join Los Angeles’ bullpen as a setup man for closer Kenley Jansen. The bullpen has been a relatively weak part of the team for the Dodgers this season, so they’re hoping the addition of Wilson will help tighten things up.
Wilson broke into the big leagues with the San Francisco Giants in 2006, but didn’t become the team’s full-time closer until 2008. Over the next four seasons he posted a 17-15 record, with 163 saves, a 3.00 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP in 264.1 innings. He is also a three-time All-Star, and closed out the Giants’ World Series win in 2010.
During spring training of 2012, Wilson was clearly not right. He appeared in two games during the regular season before being shut down and forced to undergo surgery to repair his elbow. He’s now back, and will be pitching for the hated rival of his former team. Baseball can be a funny game that way.
The long-time closer’s 171 saves rank third all-time on the Giants’ career saves list, behind only Robb Nen (206) and Rod Beck (199).
Wilson is signed to a one-year, $1 million contract and will be a free agent after the season.
Though he has always been an entertaining guy, it is yet to be determined whether or not Wilson will be able to pitch at the level he did before. Coming back from a bout with Tommy John surgery is one thing, but scaling that mountain twice has to take its toll on the body.