Wilson's one-day callup to Red Sox 'a great feeling'

Wilson's one-day callup to Red Sox 'a great feeling'
April 23, 2014, 5:45 pm
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Alex Wilson will get an an unexpected early season opportunity thanks to John Lackey going on the DL. Wilson will serve as long-relief help out of the pen.

(AP Photo)

BOSTON -- Needing some reinforcements for an overworked bullpen, the Red Sox summoned Alex Wilson Wednesday for what will almost certainly be just a 24-hour callup to the big leagues.

Given that the move was temporary, the pitcher had to be someone who was already on the 40-man roster and, preferrably, someone who had some experience coming out of the bullpen. Wilson fit both criteria.

The Sox passed over Allen Webster, who was scheduled to be Pawtucket's starter Wednesday night, because the Sox "didn't want to disrupt Webster's [turn in the] starting rotation," according to John Farrell. "We felt like a two-inning reliever was what was needed, which Alex has done. And familiarity of role. That's why Alex is here.''

"It's a great feeling,'' said Wilson of the callup. "This is where you want to be and where you strive to be as a ballplayer and to get called back up, this early in the season, is a great feeling.''

The right-hander has appeared in eight games for Pawtucket and hasn't allowed an earned run in eight innings, while giving up four hits, five walks and striking out nine. He had held righthanders to a .063 (1-for-16) average.

Wilson missed the second half of last season because of a right thumb injury that required surgery, and it took him a while this spring to be completely back at full health.

"I was really working on getting it stretched back out,'' said Wilson. "Getting the mobility back was the biggest thing. About halfway through [spring training], when I got back up to the 30-pitch range, I started having no effects whatsoever and felt real comfortable.''

Wilson said the thumb is now "100 percent, no worries. I haven't thought about it one bit since the beginning of the season.''

In some his spring outings, Wilson has thrown out to 40-45 pitches, in case the Sox need him to provide some length out of the bullpen.

"Once you get out that far,'' he said, "there's always a little bit extra in the tank, so I don't think 60 pitches would be out of the realm of possibility. I threw four different two-inning stints during spring training. I haven't gone that far during the season, but we're only 15 games into the season, so it hasn't been that long for me.''

As overworked as the Sox bullpen has been in the last week, the relievers have been extraordinarily effective, posting a 2.20 ERA, the lowest in the American League. This, despite being responsible for 43 percent of the team's innings in the last seven games.

"I'm just looking to step in and help out and continue what they've been doing,'' said Wilson. "I'm not looking to add anything special. What they've got going on right now is something really nice and I'm just looking to mesh with the group.''

Wilson was called up for several stints last year, but this season, he's more comfortable.

"Last year, there were a lot more nerves coming into it,'' he said, "and not really knowing what to expect. This year, I have a lot better idea what to expect, what's going to go on. I know the guys a lot better, which always helps.''