Wilson expects to return to action shortly
Dealing with tired shoulder, reliever tosses side session, hopes to be ready during Royals series
KANSAS CITY -- Alex Wilson's mound session didn't last long Monday, just a dozen pitches. It was enough for him to test his tired shoulder and feel like he could be back to ready in the Tigers' bullpen as soon as Tuesday.
For a Tigers relief corps that has been searching for consistency without him, that would be welcome news.
"This will be day four not in a game. It's not like it's been a dramatically long time," Wilson said Monday. "It's just been longer than what you guys are used to not seeing me out there."
Considering Wilson ranks second among American League relievers in innings pitched, yes, the sight of him not pitching for this long does seem like days on end. The concern has been whether Wilson's workload has been setting him back.
At this point, Monday's session seems to have alleviated some concerns. Wilson said the shoulder soreness he had been feeling is gone, and he needed to test out the arm to make sure he could stay that way. As long as he doesn't feel any soreness again Tuesday, he should be good to go.
"I don't expect to be sore from today," Wilson said. "I didn't do anything too strenuous. It was just one of those things where I needed to throw again off the mound for a few pitches, making sure I'm getting the [arm] angle back and everything is going to be OK. Everything went well. …
"The training staff told me to get four or five off. I threw 12. I wanted to throw a couple cutters, couple fastballs, both sides of the plate, and really get a feel for it, just getting off the mound."
Whether Wilson returns to the closer's role or shares the job with Bruce Rondon is a question for when he returns. Rondon looked impressive in his save Saturday night, his first save since 2013.
The bigger question will be whether the shoulder issue lingers into the stretch run. Wilson said he has not received any special maintenance plan for keeping the shoulder loose, which would seemingly leave it more up to workload.
"We're just going to keep an eye on it, play it by ear, try to keep the shoulder strong," he said. "The biggest thing is just going to be recovery. If I recover fine, it's going to be a non-issue the rest of the year. If I don't recover, it's going to be one of those things where maybe I need an extra day here and there."