The beard remains.
Brian Wilson, the colorful closer who finished the San Francisco Giants’ 2010 World Series championship and signed last week with the Dodgers, reported for rehabilitation duty at Class A Rancho Cucamonga on Wednesday.
“I’m excited,” Wilson said minutes after entering the Quakes’ clubhouse. “I’m with a squad [the Dodgers] showing strong playoff potential. I’ve played against these guys, it seems like they have a great team. My philosophy is when you have a loose clubhouse atmosphere, you have success.”
Wilson, 31, proclaiming himself recovered reconstructive shoulder surgery after last pitching in the big leagues in April 2012, is scheduled to start for Rancho Cucamonga on Wednesday night and pitch just the one inning.
He said he can’t remember making a start since a 2006 Arizona Fall League game.
He likened this minor-league turn as a form of extended spring training, and speculated he could get up to “five, six, seven” more innings of work for triple-A Albuquerque before he and the Dodgers -- “it’ll be a symbiotic thing,” he said -- agree on his return to the majors.
“I’m not worried about my role,” Wilson said when asked whether he would accept a set-up position in the bullpen. “Throwing a baseball is the same no matter when you’re doing it.”
Wilson said his prior connection to current Dodgers' General Manager Ned Colletti when they were in San Francisco, along with the fact he lives and has rehabilitated at a training center in the Southland, is why he selected the Dodgers over two other teams, landing a $1-million contract.
What about the hatred between his ex-team and new team?
“I don’t play into rivalries,” Wilson said while sitting on his clubhouse stool, eating a lunchmeat sandwich on wheat bread. “Boo or cheer, it’s all good. Human emotion. You can do whatever you want. You pay for it."
About San Francisco’s lack of interest in retaining him: "… I was told business is business. It is. … I wasn’t mad or pouting. I understood the position they were in. … This is a new chapter.”
Wilson said he’ll work on ensuring his arm speed and ability to throw strikes is sharp enough while in the minors, and won’t be “results-oriented” about whatever happens Wednesday night.