Wilson confirms he is done for the season


Wilson confirms he is done for the season

SAN FRANCISCO Brian Wilson was as mirthful as possible for someone discussing such sobering news.

The Giants three-time All-Star closer and World Series hero acknowledged Sunday morning that he is almost certainly headed for season-ending Tommy John surgery to reconstruct the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.

Yet he guaranteed he would resume his career with the Giants next season, he was adamant he will return stronger than ever and he said he would remain a visible presence in the clubhouse this season. He anticipates celebrating with them in September, too.

I dont think (the bullpen is) going to falter, Wilson said. I think were going to take the West no matter what, whether Im here or not.

Wilson admitted it was his elbow, not his ankle, that bothered him when he threw a pitch to the Rockies Tyler Colvin in Colorado on Thursday. Wilson had told trainers and coaches a fib because he did not want his season to end with his being escorted off the mound.

He barely escaped a bases-loaded jam to save the 4-2 victory for Madison Bumgarner.

My mindset is, if its inflammation, just get out of this mess, Wilson said. If this is season ending, your last act will be to preserve Bumgarners win.

Wilson joked that Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper should be ready in the booth for him. He said hell win an Emmy out from under their noses, too. And apparently, Major League Baseball is 14.99 richer because Wilson, now focused on being a fan this season, bought the MLB At-Bat app on his iPad first thing Sunday morning.

Heres the full transcript of the interview:

Q: How are you handling this diagnosis?
A: Im doing fine. Im not down at all. The likelihood is, yeah the seasons over with. Ill be getting a couple more opinions but we all know what structural damage is. The likelihood of me throwing again this year is minimal.

Ive prepared for a different view of the game. I have an opportunity now to be a better teammate and watch other stories unravel and be more of a student of the game. I still have a lot to learn and I still have a lot to teach. By no stretch of the imagination is my journey over. This is a mild bump in my road. Nothing has been easy when Ive pitched or lived so this is an opportunity for me to get a better arm.

Why is that disappointing? I get to throw harder. I like it. I like my odds. I get to become more involved in the community and Kruk and Kuip better watch out because Ill be upstairs in the booth, Ill be announcing games. Maybe win an Emmy.
Q: When did you first notice something was wrong?
A: 2010 -- I mean, if you want to be honest. I was pitching on borrowed time last year. If you want to look at timing, yeah, getting hurt sucks, but the timing of this, being April, and you look at 12 months from now, if I do have to get surgery, Ill be pitching again in April with another season under my belt.

And I still will be a Giant because I have four arbitration years and so legally Im theirs. Which is good. So basically go see a couple more doctors this week and there will be a decision by the end of the week.
Q: This would be your second Tommy John surgery. Will that first experience help you?
A: Im not worried about coming back at all. Its not even a question. Ill be back pitching. The thing Ill be disappointed about is, uh, Im no slouch to working out, but I just know what Im in for. I know its a grueling process, daily, but Ive never shied away from hard work. Ive never shied away from the opportunity to get better and Ive got a full year to work on some stuff.

And you know what? Now I get to take in some Giants baseball from a different perspective. The first thing I did this morning was download that MLB app on my iPad. So Ill be watching a lot of games. Im not going to disappear. If I do have to rehab, its going to be here. Ill be in the locker room. Im not going to miss a game.

My spirits arent down. I know a lot of people are sad. I know Giants fans are going to look at this as a huge loss, but you know, weve got the best bullpen in the league. Ive gotten the honor to play with those guys, teach them a lot of things and theyve taught me a lot of things. And theyre going to fill my role the best they can and I dont think theyre going to falter. I think were going to take the West no matter what, whether Im here or not. Weve got a great lineup, weve got the same coaching staff back, the front office did a marvelous job putting together a team thats going to win and thats exactly what were going to do .
Q: Youre confident the bullpen will thrive without you?
A: Of course. The other seven guys are very good. Theres going to be different responsibilities and more roles to be filled and I know theyre going to do a great job. Thats not even a question. Im not going to sit here and say Im the savior and things are going to fall apart. No, not at all.
Q: What did you feel Thursday in Colorado?
A: Yeah, you could tell what pitch didnt work well. I walked behind the mound. I threw 10 more pitches. My mind set is, if its inflammation, just get out of this mess. If this is season ending, your last act will be to preserve Bumgarners win.
Q: Any regrets about how you handled that?
A: Thats now I play baseball. Push it to the limits. I was able to help our team do some great things last year regardless of how horrible it felt throwing a baseball.

Q: What went into the decision not to have surgery when you were on the DL last year?
A: That was a different thing. That was forearm, flexor (tendon). This is ligament stuff. That didnt require surgery. It just required a little time off. But I guess you could say this was coming and its better now than any time based on the time frame it takes to come back. Its a year. No big deal. If I plan on playing forever, then this is a small percentage of my career.

Once Im on the mound again next year, playing baseball, Im not going to look back at this and say, Wow that sucked, or Woe is me. Im not like that.

The first time I got (Tommy John surgery), I looked at it as an opportunity to throw harder. You know, 21-year-old kid, I get to throw harder. Thats pretty awesome. The difficult thing is the monotony of all the exercises and the time it takes. Its more mental anguish than physical anguish. Because you wake up and youre told you have to do this work, you complain three minutes into it and then you do the work. Its the mental part that can be overbearing, but you know what? Ive done it once. Do it again. Thats the case.

Q: Will being at the ballpark for your rehab be a therapy of sorts?
A: I think so. Ive got 24 best friends out there, and Ive got the coaching staff. And you know what? Ive got an entire city thats my friend. So Im not going to be down. Im a fan of baseball. So Ive got another 150-something games to watch and see what kind of story unfolds.
Q: You have one more arbitration year left. Do you imagine it will be difficult to come to terms on a contract?
A: Well, like I said, if I plan on playing baseball forever Im not worried about contracts. As long as Im pitching, things will work out. Its not something I think about at all. The Giants have me for another year. Youre welcome.

Q: Youll see Dr. Andrews in Florida?
A: I have to call Jimmy, see whats open.

Q: Will you see Lewis Yocum (in Anaheim)?
A: Thats a possibility. Theres plenty of great doctors. It doesnt hurt to get everyones opinions on this.

Q: Do the tests show a UCL tear?
A: I didnt ... Thats not something I really know about. I just go by how my arm basically feels, what Ive gone through already, similarities and all that, and what (trainer Dave Groeschner) and all the other doctors are portraying.

How Cubs beat Kershaw to move on to World Series

How Cubs beat Kershaw to move on to World Series

Two quick runs off the best pitcher on the planet on Saturday night afforded the Cubs exactly what they needed to snap a 71-year-old drought.

Already confident after consecutive offensive outbursts in the previous two games, a two-run first inning against Clayton Kershaw had Cubs hitters in a positive frame of mind.

They rode the surprising rally and a dominant performance by Kyle Hendricks to a 5-0 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Wrigley Field in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series. The win earned the Cubs their first NL pennant since 1945 and on Tuesday night they’ll seek their first World Series title since 1908 when they face the Cleveland Indians in Game 1.

“It’s huge for the confidence, the positive momentum from LA, to carry over back home,” left fielder Ben Zobrist said. “Those were the biggest moments in the game early on to help everybody keep pushing and that we got this thing -- that we’re in charge of the game early. That’s a huge momentum builder.”

The Cubs did a little bit of everything in the first inning against Kershaw, who dominated them for seven scoreless frames in a 1-0 Dodgers victory in Game 2 on Sunday night. Some hitters took a more aggressive approach against the three-time NL Cy Young winner while others remained patient. The one constant throughout the 30-pitch frame was that Cubs hitters took advantage whenever Kershaw made a mistake.


MLB becomes whole new ballgame since Cubs last World Series trip


MLB becomes whole new ballgame since Cubs last World Series trip

One way to realize just how long it's been since the Chicago Cubs last reached the World Series is to look at how much the game has changed since then, on and off the field.

The Cubs are making their first appearance since 1945 and chasing their first title since 1908.

Some of the ways the game has changed since the Cubs lost Game 7 to the Detroit Tigers some 71 years ago:

INTEGRATION: Jackie Robinson became the first black player to reach the major leagues in 1947, two years after the Cubs' last World Series appearance. Baseball has turned into a virtual melting pot in the seven decades since. The Cubs' roster includes players from Cuba (reliever Aroldis Chapman and outfielder Jorge Soler), along with Venezuela, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, as well as the United States.

EXPANSION: There were 16 teams in the majors in 1945, including two in St. Louis, Boston, Philadelphia and Chicago, and three in New York. The total is up to 30 now.

GO WEST: There were no major league franchises west of St. Louis in 1945. The Brooklyn Dodgers moved to Los Angeles and the New York Giants headed to San Francisco in 1958. In 1969, the Seattle Pilots showed up - they went 64-98 in their first year, then became the Milwaukee Brewers.

DIVISIONAL PLAY: There were no divisions in 1945, just eight teams in both the American League and National League. They split into East and West divisions in 1969. Then a Central was created in 1994, with the Cubs shifting from the NL East to the NL Central.

PLAYOFFS PLUS: Extra teams and divisions resulted in expanded playoffs. The League Championship Series began in 1969, the Division Series started in 1995 and a one-game wild-card playoff came in 2012. A longer postseason pushed the World Series deep into October and beyond. If the Cubs and Cleveland go the distance this year, Game 7 would be on Nov. 2.

FREE AGENCY: When Phil Cavarretta and Peanuts Lowrey helped lead the Cubs to the 1945 Series, they were bound to the team until they were traded or released. Curt Flood tested baseball's reserve clause in the early 1970s and took his case to the U.S. Supreme Court, helping pave the way for players to move around as free agents. Jon Lester, John Lackey and Ben Zobrist are among the players the Cubs acquired this way.

DESIGNATED HITTER: The designated hitter joined the American League lineup in 1973. The DH debate is still hot, with the leagues playing by different rules. When this year's World Series opens at the AL park, both teams will use the DH; when the Cubs host, the pitchers will hit.

LIGHTS AT WRIGLEY: The Cubs were the last team in the majors to play only day games. That changed when lights were installed at Wrigley Field in 1988. The games there have always been played outdoors on green grass, never under a dome or on artificial turf, trends that became popular starting with the Astrodome in the mid-1960s.