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Wilson making footwork adjustments

Tigers reliever hoping mechanical fix will help to boost struggling bullpen
MLB.com @beckjason

DETROIT -- The band-aid that Alex Wilson has been sporting on his nose in recent days is the result of a biopsy for a sun spot. He has a history of skin cancer in his family, and he wants to be cautious.

The solution to his recent pitching woes requires more than a band-aid. But he's hopeful that an adjustment to his footwork on the mound will help him pitch more effectively.

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DETROIT -- The band-aid that Alex Wilson has been sporting on his nose in recent days is the result of a biopsy for a sun spot. He has a history of skin cancer in his family, and he wants to be cautious.

The solution to his recent pitching woes requires more than a band-aid. But he's hopeful that an adjustment to his footwork on the mound will help him pitch more effectively.

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"It's just one of those things that happened over time," Wilson said Thursday morning. "It's a bad habit and frustration or stubbornness, I guess, have led me to where I am now. But hopefully it is this simple of a fix. I mean, I looked at everything from maybe tipping pitches to just poor selection or just chucking it up to I'm not making my pitches. But I think this little mechanical issue will be a big help."

Wilson has held left-handed hitters to a .226 average over his career, including 13-for-60 (.217) so far this season. However, he has struggled against all sorts of hitters this month; the two ninth-inning runs he allowed in Wednesday's 8-2 loss to the Royals marked the fourth time this month he has allowed multiple runs in an outing. He has yielded 10 runs on 19 hits over 9 2/3 innings in June.

Those issues have put Detroit's bullpen in a state of disorder. Wednesday's game landed Wilson in the video room along with pitching coach Rich Dubee, trying to pinpoint the cause.

"They had found something on the video that they're going to try to make an adjustment," manager Brad Ausmus said. "He's a little open, he's kind of pulling the ball a little bit."

Said Wilson: "I've actually been fairly successful against lefties, because I pitch in so much. My struggles have been [on] the opposite side of the plate, which has always been my strong point. So I was like, 'Well, if I move over, that'll give me the three or four inches of extra room I need.' And I came in and looked at my feet from this year, even early this year, all the way back to 2014 and '15 and there's about a five-inch difference from where I was coming set and where I was landing."

With four crucial games over about 48 hours against the Indians this weekend, Wilson won't have much time to put the changes into place before he's likely needed. While Bruce Rondon has shown signs he's ready to be a late-inning reliever for the Tigers again, Ausmus said Wednesday he's not assigning roles and going with the hot hand instead.

Quick hits

• Though outfielder Alex Presley is nearly eligible to be activated from the seven-day disabled list for concussion symptoms, Ausmus said he's "nowhere close" to a return. Presley is still experiencing symptoms, according to Ausmus, and he has yet to pass the concussion protocol.

• Warwick Saupold continues to be one of the bright spots in the Tigers bullpen, but don't expect a shift into later situations at this point. "He's done an excellent job in that long-relief role," Ausmus said.

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.

Detroit Tigers, Alex Wilson