SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Brian Wilson was out of character in two ways Monday. First, he dialed back the intensity in his first official bullpen session of the spring. Then he dialed back the personality while discussing his day with reporters.But a subdued and serious Wilson also made a fairly big revelation, saying the right elbow he strained in August was an issue that actually bothered him most of the season. His left hip didnt feel so good, either.Its no wonder his strikeouts were down and his walks were up.
Asked to explain those numbers, Wilson said, Probably pitching with a hurt elbow the whole year, and a bad hip. You could blame a ton of things. But Im the one throwing the ball.Wilson plans to throw again in two days. Both he and Giants coaches were pleased with his first session, even though he didnt come close to throwing full bore. He estimated his intensity was 75 percent, although he "tested the waters" with a couple of firmer fastballs toward the end.I feel like Im right on schedule, Wilson said. Its a check on the checklist. Its a standard bullpen. I dont look too deep into it. But as far as pain, I was pain-free. No ailments, no tweaks, no inflammation.Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti said Wilson was better than I expected him to be, adding that the All-Star closer finished his pitches with full extension rather than recoil or short-arm the ball.Its not something you get excited about right away, but this was a good start, Righetti said. I dont know that it changes our thinking on the timetable at all. But there was nothing there to cause me any concern.The timetable calls for Wilson to build gradual intensity; hes not likely to appear in a Cactus League game until the club is at least a week into the exhibition schedule. He might not pitch back-to-back outings until late in camp.I dont think he needs a lot of outings, to be honest, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. Hes pretty simple with his delivery and I think thats going to help with his command.He was getting extension there. I liked where he was with his arm slot, with everything. I was happy today. Hes on pace. Hes where he should be. Hes been through a lot. He had to do the rehab road and that can get a little old. But hes been relentless with it.Wilson hasnt always struck the greatest balance between relentlessness and conservatism. He said the elbow issues havent changed his mentality on the mound.Not at all, he said. Youll have to physically take me off the mound. If it means I have to pitch left-handed, I will. I dont care if I get injured. I pitch to get three outs, then worry about tomorrow when I wake up.Wilson switched his off season routine to de-emphasize weight training and do more sports-specific movement. He said he feels good and hopes his increased flexibility will help stave off the left hip and side issues that seem to crop up every year.Its bothered me my whole life, Wilson said. It happens on your land leg as a pitcher. Mine gets tighter than most.If Wilson seems tighter in general this spring, maybe its because the Showtime cameras have moved on to South Florida and his Got Heem catchphrase has been appropriated by the MLB Network.No, Wilson probably wont drive a different crazy car to the ballpark every day this spring. (Including an unmarked police cruiser one morning, when he memorably locked Sergio Romo in the passenger seat.)But even if Wilson walks a straighter and more boring line this spring, he'll still manage to do it his way. He took off his socks to reveal his toenails, brightly painted black and red.