The 2012 season has already had a handful of early injuries to notable major league players, and one more was added to that list this weekend, now that San Francisco Giants closer Brian Wilson
is finished for the 2012 season.
Wilson, 30, felt elbow discomfort in his throwing arm during his second appearance of the season against the Colorado Rockies. Although Wilson was able to record the save, an MRI revealed that "The Bearded One" had structural issues. After consulting with physicians, Wilson elected to have Tommy John surgery for the second time in his career. The righthander previously had Tommy John surgery in 2003 while attending LSU.
Over his seven year big-league career, Wilson has 171 career saves, a career 3.21 ERA and 9.6 strikeouts per 9 innings. From 2008 to 2011, he averaged 41 saves per season for the Giants. In 2010, Wilson led the majors with 48 saves.
For the time being, Giants manager Bruce Bochy
hasn't named a replacement for Wilson, but mentioned it "would be a closer by committee going forward."
Currently, the three favorite candidates for save opportunities are righthander Santiago Casilla
, righthander Sergio Romo
, and lefthander Javier Lopez
While Bochy hasn't provided a clear-cut favorite, it's worth noting that while Wilson was on the disabled list in 2011 with elbow problems, Santiago Casilla was given the ball in the ninth inning and recorded a total of six saves. Sergio Romo has blown away hitters the past two seasons (11.5 K/9), but Bochy may go with Casilla based on his "closing experience".
If you're looking for cheap saves (aren't we all) - the favorite has to be Santiago Casilla for the ninth inning moving forward. Although Romo has been lights out in previous seasons, Bochy may keep him in the 8th inning.
It's worth noting that the Giants used Casilla in the 8th inning of a tied game on Saturday (April 14) and allowed him to pitch 1 2/3 innings before bringing in Javier Lopez for one batter.