by Steve Hole, MD 2012
Though he’s under a 2-year, $15 million contract with the World Series champion San Francisco Giants, Brian Wilson wears several hats: tattoo canvas, captivating interview star, and closer extraordinaire. The relief pitcher led the majors with 48 saves in 2010 and pitched his best in the biggest moments, striking out Ryan Howard in Game 6 of the NLCS to send the Giants to the World Series, and striking out Nelson Cruz to clinch the team’s first title since leaving New York in 1958.
Despite his obsessive year-round workout program, odds were “less than 50-50” that Mr. Wilson would be ready to play on Opening Day 2011. In a Spring Training game against the LA Angels on March 17, he strained an abdominal muscle during an otherwise routine 7th inning appearance. Pitch counts are an essential part of baseball at all levels, and Mr. Wilson was not beyond his expected workload for this point of the preseason. The injury was undeniably a result of the pitching motion; Mr. Wilson might have felt the strain emerge during one single throw, or emerge gradually over hours or days.
According to Giants manager, Bruce Bochy, an MRI taken after the game showed a “mild strain of the left oblique muscle” but did not show any tears. Fans might remember Mr. Wilson missed time earlier in the spring with a sore back; this injury appears to be unrelated.