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Wilson expects speedy recovery but won't rush

SAN DIEGO -- Dodgers reliever Brian Wilson said ulna nerve irritation in his right elbow is probably the result of rushing to prepare during a shortened Spring Training, but said he "doesn't imagine it will take very long" for him to return from the disabled list.

Wilson was placed on the 15-day DL on Wednesday, with Jose Dominguez recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque to replace him. He'll be eligible to return on April 15.

"I'm not sure how long it will be," said manager Don Mattingly, "but I don't expect anything crazy."

Wilson admitted the twinge he felt in the bullpen before blowing a lead on Sunday was the same sensation he felt on March 10, when he threw a pitch that alarmed pitching coach Rick Honeycutt, resulting in a mound visit by Mattingly. Wilson stayed in that game, too.

"I probably should have said something before I went out there," he said of the Sunday game.

Mattingly agreed.

"We tell them all the time to tell us, and all the time they don't tell you," he said. "Don't let little things turn into big things. But guys still don't tell you."

The Spring Training twinge sidelined Wilson for five days. He pitched one inning in Arizona on March 15, the day before the club left for Australia, where on March 22 Wilson pitched a perfect inning with two strikeouts against Arizona, but on Wednesday said he didn't feel right then, either.

"It wasn't a total surprise," Mattingly said of finally hearing something was wrong.

Wilson said his fastball doesn't have "zip," the cutter "doesn't have sharp break to it," and he "starts to suffer with location."

Mattingly said Wilson compensated for lack of strength by trying to throw harder, irritating the nerve.

"He fell behind and tried to catch up and changed things," Mattingly said.

Wilson compared the "dull pain" he feels to the dead-arm stage of Spring Training and said he intends to soon go out on a Minor League assignment to get the innings in he missed in Arizona.

"As much as the games are important in April, they're more important in August and September," he said. "I don't want to risk a big series win because I'm trying to get outs in April."

Wilson, who played catch on Wednesday, said he would try throw off a mound in the next day or two and in the Minor Leagues "until my arm feels good and I can do what I'm capable of doing."

Wilson said Dr. Neal ElAttrache told him the twice-repaired ligament in his elbow is sound.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for
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