SAN FRANCISCO – The Beard is back. It’s your choice whether you still fear it.
The Dodgers activated right-hander Brian Wilson from the disabled list Tuesday afternoon, and the one-time Giants World Series hero will be available to face his former club as the rivals begin a three-game series at AT&T Park.
The Dodgers optioned left-hander Paco Rodriguez, who held lefties to a .130 average last season. He wasn’t their worst reliever, but he had a minor league option and that’s often how these decisions are made in April.
The Giants have their own bullpen decision to make regarding left-hander Jeremy Affeldt, who threw 15 pitches off a mound and is expected to be activated prior to Wednesday’s game. The Giants don’t have any relievers with options, so they could end up going to 13 pitchers and sending out a position player like outfielder Juan Perez. A short start from Tim Lincecum on Tuesday could seal the deal on that.
As for Wilson, this is his first visit to AT&T Park since last September, when he screamed at CEO Larry Baer while the Giants went through the victory handshake line on the field. Baer said Wilson was upset about not receiving his 2012 World Series ring, even though the team made several overtures to give it to him privately.
Wilson, who signed a $10 million contract to remain with the Dodgers as a setup man for closer Kenley Jansen, began the season in the bullpen but struggled in his first appearance and was placed on the DL with ulnar nerve irritation.
“It was like dead arm,” Wilson told me. “No. It was more like no arm.”
But MRI exams showed no damage to his ulnar collateral ligament, which has been reconstructed twice. Once the nerve calmed down, Wilson got his arm back. He hopes to use that, instead of any postgame yelling, to send any messages this time.