According to Chris Haft of MLB.com, San Francisco Giants All-Star closer Brian Wilson was diagnosed with a mildly strained left oblique yesterday.
Wilson believes he will be ready for Opening Day, but Martie Lurie of KNBR said on the Giants' postgame show that March 31's opener is in jeopardy for the bearded right-hander.
Wilson will not throw the ball until Monday, when he will be re-evaluated.
Wilson earned a major league best 48 saves last season. He reported the discomfort last Friday, the day after pitching a shutout inning against the Angels in an exhibition game.
Coming into Saturday's game, Wilson pitched five innings in the preseason and gave up just one run (1.80 ERA).
This is a bit of a concern for me.
Brian Wilson is one of the best closers in the National League and perhaps the game, and I do not think the Giants have anyone formidable to replace him with. Santiago Casilla does not throw enough strikes for me in the ninth, and Sergio Romo is just too prone to the long ball late in the game (as seen in the NLDS).
Although Javier Lopez is a good pitcher, I want someone who can throw gas coming into the ninth inning. If this were 2009, I would say Jeremy Affeldt could step in, but he just has not been consistent enough of late.
A possible under-the-radar candidate could be Marc Kroon.
Who is the best closer in the game right now?
Kroon was a successful closer in Japan who nearly broke the all-time saves record over there. In six seasons, Kroon accrued 177 saves and threw as high as 101 mph.
He is doing okay in spring training, giving up two runs in six innings (3.00 ERA) while striking out four.
Still, it would be very difficult to replace Wilson, who insists that he will be fine for the opener in Los Angeles. However, anything can happen and the Giants need to look at other options just in case.
This article was featured on the blog Talking Giants Baseball.
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