MINNEAPOLIS -- It didn't take long for Bobby Wilson to create a tangible impact with the Minnesota Twins. The 35-year-old catcher was called up by the Twins on May 6 to fill in for injured starter Jason Castro, and five days later he lifted a go-ahead sacrifice fly to help the Twins top the Angels on May 11.
But it is what Wilson is doing behind the scenes that might prove even more important for Minnesota. Following Monday's announcement that Castro will be sidelined for 4-6 weeks with a knee injury, Wilson will now be counted on to take a larger role.
"[He] has a lot of baseball savvy and a lot of miles traveled, he's seen about every situation in the game," Twins pitcher Kyle Gibson said. "He was comfortable Day 1 coming in, and a guy who's been around that long knows how to get to know a pitching staff and knows how to catch a game. On top of that, he's seen most of these hitters as well."
Wilson was with Minnesota during Spring Training and had a chance to familiarize himself with the team's pitching staff. Now, he will rejoin that group and try to provide a steady presence for a team that entered Tuesday with a 4.49 ERA.
A Dunedin, Fla., native, Wilson was drafted by the Giants in 2002 out of St. Petersburg College and has played in nine Major League seasons for six organizations. The professional, detail-oriented mindset that has helped him carve out a 15-year professional career could benefit the Twins immediately.
"I never want to be ill-prepared with anything that I'm doing," Wilson said. "Especially with anything on the pitcher-catcher relationship and communication. That's something I take a lot of pride in. I want the pitchers to know that I'm out there in their best interest first and foremost, and then it's whatever I can do on the offensive side to help the team win."
Wilson made his Major League debut with the Angels in 2008 and spent five years working under the tutelage of Angels' skipper and former All-Star catcher Mike Scioscia. In Los Angeles, current D-backs catcher Jeff Mathis became a mentor to Wilson and helped him sharpen his skills as a game-caller.
"He's solid in his receiving and his thought process," Minnesota manager Paul Molitor said. "Pitchers are comfortable with how he presents targets and all those type of things. He's just a hard worker who knows that's a big part of him staying in the big leagues, to be able to handle a pitching staff."
The loss of Castro has been softened by the hot start of Minnesota catcher Mitch Garver, who is hitting .254 with six extra-base hits in 59 at-bats this season. Molitor hasn't yet established exact situations in which Garver or Wilson will start, and said that the Twins will evaluate matchups each day in order to decide which backstop can help the team the most.
"Both Mitch and I know that we need to show up to the ballpark prepared to play every day," Wilson said. "So I've kind of been taking the mentality of be prepared to play every day and if I'm not in the lineup, I'm still going down and catching bullpens before the game. Just so the pitchers see me and I see them."