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.
Poor Ryan Mount can’t catch a break.
The Rancho Cucamonga third baseman got back in the Quakes lineup after missing nine weeks with a foot injury. And what happens? He gets hurt again.
The Ayala High School grad apparently got hurt sliding into third base in the fifth inning, according to manager Carlos Subero.
Not only did Mount not say anything, he stayed in the game. He was serving as designated hitter so he went in the clubhouse and rode a stationary bike to stay loose. He also almost beat out an infield hit later in the game.
“That shows just how tough he is,” Subero said.
At the same time the Quakes were hitting and prepping for a game against Lake Elsinore on Wednesday, Mount was seeing a doctor. Subero said the injury is likely a torn ACL.
Mount turns 27 in 10 days so it is possible that serious of an injury could be career-ending, especially in such a competitive field as professional baseball.
Mount was hitting . 342 and made the all-star team when he was injured. Before last night he last played on May 31.
Mount was in the Angels organization up until last year. Everyone in both organization’s was bummed about the players’ latest setback.
“He’s a great guy and he worked so hard to get back,” Subero said. “We’re all upset for him.”
Former San Francisco Giants closer Brian Wilson will start his comeback tonight at LoanMart Field where the Los Angeles Dodgers California League affiliate Rancho Cucamonga (52-63) will be hosting Padres affiliate Lake Elsinore (51-63) at 7:05 p.m.
Wilson, 31, signed with the Dodgers on July 30, five days after throwing a bullpen session to show he had sufficiently recovered fro Tommy John surgery he underwent in April of 2012.
It was the second Tommy John surgery for Wilson, who first had the procedure done in college.
Don’t arrive late. Wilson, who recorded 171 saves in 314 career games with the Giants, will start the game but likely only pitch an inning.
Wilson will be followed to the mound by the regularly scheduled starter Freddie Cabrera (2-2, 5.05).
There was a lot of roster moves made by the parent club Dodgers to the Rancho Cucamonga roster.
The most notable move for local baseball followers is that third baseman Ryan Mount came off the disabled list. The Ayala High School grad was having a career year (hitting .342) when he injured the same foot he had surgically repaired two years ago. He was in the starting lineup on Tuesday for the first time since May 31.
Right-handed pitcher Edwin Carl has been signed to a free agent contract and assigned to Rancho Cucamonga while another right-hander, Craig Stem, has been transferred to Rancho Cucamonga from Class-A Great Lakes of the Midwest League.
Outfielder Devin Shines has been transferred to Great Lakes while infielder James McDonald has been transferred to Rookie-League Arizona.
After a day off both local California teams are back in action.
Rancho Cucamonga will host Lake Elsinore while Inland Empire will be traveling to High Desert. Both games are set for 7:05 p.m.
The Quakes (52-62) will send (4-6, 5.03)Lindsay Caughel to the mound while the Storm (50-63), a Padres affiliate, will counter with John Barbato (2-4, 5.19.
Meanwhile the Sixers will start Orangel Arenas (6-5, 4.98), who has been nearly unhittable at home but struggled in road games. Jordan Pries (6-6, 5.07) is slated to start for the Mavericks.
Third baseman Juan Silverio of Reds affiliate Bakersfield is this week’s California League Player of the Week.
He hit .480 (12 for 25) with two doubles, three home runs, eight RBI and six runs scored. The 22-year-old infielder is on an eight-game hitting streak during which he’s lifted his season batting average 20 points to .290.
Pitcher of the Week honors went to Modesto’s Jonathan Gray. The former first-round draft pick by the Rockies went five scoreless innings in his only outing of the week, giving up just two its and striking out seven.
All 10 teams in the California League have the day off. The Inland Empire 66ers will be at Angels Stadium where the parent team will be hosting the Texas Rangers in a 7:05 contest.
The Sixers (60-54 overall, 23-21 second half) resume California League play on Tuesday at High Desert.
The Inland Empire 66ers will go the rest of the way without the anchor of their pitching staff as ace Mark Sappington has been promoted to Double-A Arkansas of the Texas League.
Sappington, 22, was 11-4 with a 3.37 ERA that ranked him second in the California League. He was on track to match a team record for wins in a season of 14, last accomplished by Ryan Ketchner in 2003.
In 22 starts (130 2/3 innings) the 6-foot-5 right-hander had recorded 111 strikeouts while allowing 49 earned runs, 103 hits and 62 walks. He ranked third in the Cal League in ERA, tied for second in wins and led it in innings pitched. He was voted to the mid-season All-Star team.
He is the No. 9 ranked prospect in the Angels organization by Baseball America.
Winning a Triple Crown is tough in the majors, but it’s almost as tough in the minors. Inland Empire outfielder Zach Borenstein has a shot.
Borenstein, a 23rd round draft pick out of Eastern Illinois, leads the California League in batting (.341). The next two players behind him in that category have been promoted and won’t have enough at-bats by the end of the year to qualify.
The other two categories might be tougher. Borenstein has 21 home runs, trailing only Rancho Cucamonga’s Scott Schebler (23) and Sixers teammate Michael Snyder (22).
In RBI Borenstein (76) trails just Andrew Aplin (84) and Matt Duffy (77), both of Lancaster. That might the toughest deficit to overcome because the two frontrunners have a decided advantage playing in the most hitter friendly venue in the league. It’s actually amazing the Borenstein is that close in RBI with Aplin having played 23 more games.
The last player to win a Triple Crown in the Cal League is Ruben Gonzalez who did so with the then San Bernardino Spirit in 1989. His numbers weren’t exactly overwhelming – a .308 batting average with 27 home runs and 101 RBI.
Borenstein also seems to have a legitimate shot at Cal League Player of the Year honors. He leads the league in slugging percentage (.649).
If nothing else, Borenstein has put himself on the Angels’ organization’s radar. He wasn’t listed in the top 30 prospects this year but it would be hard for Baseball America to leave him out next year given those numbers.
The Los Angeles Dodgers promoted RHP Carlos Frias from High-A Rancho Cucamonga to Double-A Chattanooga on Tuesday, forcing a Quakes manager Carlos Subero to alter his rotation.
Frias, 23, had been schedule to pitch against Inland Empire tonight at San Manuel Stadium but Subero handed the ball to Gustavo Gomez instead.
Frias was 2-3 with a 4.11 ERA in eight starts with the Quakes. He started the season at Low-A Great Lakes and made his first start with Rancho on June 15.