Red hot Dodgers add former Giants closer Brian Wilson to bullpen

July 31, 2013

On the same day that the Los Angeles Dodgers earned their second consecutive walk-off victory -- this time on a thrilling ninth-inning single by second baseman Mark Ellis in a 3-2 interleague win over the Yankees -- the team also signed free-agent reliever and former nemesis Brian Wilson to a one-year contract.

The deal is reportedly for $1 million.

Wilson, 31, recently has been known more his for trademark beard than for his pitching, as the right-hander has been recuperating from Tommy John surgery after injuring his pitching elbow in 2012. He also had a similar operation on the elbow during his collegiate days.

When healthy, however, Wilson has proven to be a force.

From 2008-2011, Wilson was one of the sport's top relievers, earning three All-Star selections (2008, 2010, 2011) with the rival San Francisco Giants and leading the big leagues with 163 saves in 186 opportunities (87.6%).

During San Francisco's 2010 championship run, Wilson tied the Giants all-time single-season saves record with 48, and struck out 16 in 11.2 scoreless innings in postseason play.

Although the streaking Dodgers have won 27 of their last 33 games, if Wilson could regain some semblance of his prior form, it would be a big boost to a bullpen that has had to shift the roles of its relievers on the fly.

Kenley Jansen, originally pegged to be the setup man for projected closer Brandon League, was elevated to the closer's role when League struggled earlier in the season.

A best case scenario would be for Wilson to emerge as another eighth inning option for skipper Don Mattingly.

Of course, coming off such a major injury, the team is not even certain whether Wilson will be truly ready for the bigs during the heat of a playoff chase.

As such, he will be initially sent to the minors for a few weeks to build up his arm and sharpen his game.

By Staff of The Daily Sports Herald and news services

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