Former Giants closer Brian Wilson hasn’t thrown a pitch in Majors in two full seasons, but he’s now seeking a Major League comeback as a knuckleballer, reports Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports. The MVP Sports client, who will turn 35 in March, is eyeing a transition to the starting rotation with his new pitch and has already worked out for two teams.
Wilson taught himself a knuckleball in his youth and would often tinker with it even as a pro, per Brown, but he never used it in a game setting as a professional. Since setting his mind on a comeback, though, he’s worked to throw the pitch from different arm angles and at different speeds. He also grips the pitch a bit differently from the more traditional knuckleball.
A return to prominence in the Majors is somewhat of a long shot for Wilson, who has two Tommy John surgeries under his belt and hasn’t started more than one game in any single season since 2004 — his first professional season. Additionally, he’s never reached even 80 innings in a full season due to to his role as a reliever, so it’s far from certain that his body will sustain a starter’s workload over the course of a season. But, Wilson does have a career 3.30 earned run average over the life of 382 innings in a career that has resulted in three All-Star appearances. It’s not hard to imagine a club at least taking a flier on Wilson, given the lack of any real risk in bringing him to camp this spring. Fans of Wilson will want to check out Brown’s column in full, as it features several quotes from the always-eccentric (and now clean-shaven) right-hander.