Brian Wilson pitched what could be his final minor league rehab outing on Tuesday night, as the right-hander pitched 1⅓ innings for Triple-A Albuquerque against Salt Lake. The former Giants closer, signed as a free agent by the Dodgers on July 30, could join the Dodgers this week.
Manager Don Mattingly said over the weekend that the plan was for Wilson to throw in back-to-back games before activating him from the disabled list. But that plan changed, as Mattingly told reporters on Tuesday Wilson would not need to pitch on consecutive days, per Michael Martinez of Fox Sports West.
Wilson entered Tuesday's game with two outs in the seventh inning. He induced a broken-bat grounder back to the box to end the seventh, then recorded a fly out to center field and a strikeout in the eighth before giving up a single, his first runner allowed to reach base in four games. Wilson needed 21 pitches on Tuesday to record four outs.
The earliest Wilson could be activated from the disabled list is Wednesday, but adding him by the start of the road trip on Friday seems more likely. Above all, the Dodgers just want to make sure Wilson, who had Tommy John surgery and last pitched on a major league mound on April 12, 2012, is healthy.
"We wanted him to get through this schedule and see how he was handling everything, see how he feels. We want him to be ready, and we want him to feel that he's ready. There was no real artificial date that he had to be up by X," Mattingly said on Sunday. "He's going to want to make contributions right away, and we want him to be comfortable."
Wilson in his four appearances, one with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga and three with Albuquerque, pitched 4⅓ innings. Wilson struck out three, induced seven ground outs and one infield popup. Wilson allowed two balls to be hit to the outfield, including a line drive on Friday that was caught by Alex Catellanos in left field. Wilson retired 13 of 14 batters.
The Dodgers will have to make a corresponding roster move to add Wilson. With Hanley Ramirez returning to the lineup, Dee Gordon could simply be optioned, but that would mean carrying 13 pitchers and just 12 position players. The Dodgers could option Chris Withrow to Albuquerque for roughly two weeks until rosters expand in September, or they could decide to end the Carlos Marmol experiment.
Once Wilson is on the team, his role in the bullpen will be to setup Kenley Jansen, as Mattingly made clear over the weekend.
"When we talked to Brian, everybody was up front about it. Kenley is our guy, and everybody else is there to get the ball to Kenley," Mattingly said on Friday. "We'll try to match (Wilson) up the best we can."