Maybe it was just one inning, eight pitches. But it was a good start.
Brian Wilson made his debut in the Dodgers organization, pitching the first inning for Rancho Cucamonga on Wednesday against Lake Elsinore.
Wilson has been sidelined for 16 months after undergoing Tommy John surgery in April of 2012. The Giants let him walk. So much for 171 saves and three all-star appearances in seven seasons.
Wilson barely broke a sweat, getting a strikeout and the other two outs on routine grounders to second base. He was clocked between 89-91 mph.
The next stop will be Triple-A Albuquerque.
There is always a bit of a buzz when a major leaguer plays at a lower level on a rehab. And the Quakes have had more than their fair share. But Wilson brought more than the usual buzz, including a media contingent of about 20, 19 more than usual.
Plenty of fans showed up, many wearing San Francisco Giants jerseys. Wilson got a nice round of applause as he took the field. Maybe it was that flamboyant personality or the fact that the once-hated rival was now a part of a team so much a part of the Southern California landscape.
After pitching and talking to the media, he signed autographs for about 20 minutes on his way out.
One outing doesn’t mark a complete return, but it’s a good start.