Columbus clips Bats, 4-2
Reds' rehabbing Wilson starts slow, finishes strong
By Michael Grant
The Cincinnati Reds, owners of the best record in major league baseball, received some good news last night. Paul Wilson shook off some early struggles to finish strong while making a rehabilitation start in the Louisville Bats' 4-2 loss to the Columbus Clippers at Louisville Slugger Field.
Wilson's second rehab start was considerably better than his first. This time the right-hander gave up a run in each of the first two innings before settling down. He finished his six-inning stint allowing the two runs and six hits with one walk and a strikeout.
Wilson threw 91 pitches, 53 for strikes. He retired the side in his final inning, helped out by a nice grab by left fielder Andy Abad.
Wilson, who had surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff and labrum last June, allowed six runs and 10 hits in seven innings in his first rehab start, on April 27 at Class A Dayton. If the right-hander continues to progress he could provide a boost to the rotation of the Reds, who have a two-game lead over the Houston Astros in the National League Central.
"It's about figuring out how to get it done with the arm that you have now and trusting that," Wilson said. "I went from A ball to Triple-A ball. These guys are obviously professional hitters. I felt like I was making good pitches. I threw good pitches when I had to."
Wilson will make at least one more rehabilitation start for the Bats, on Sunday at Charlotte.
"He got people out," Louisville manager Rick Sweet said. "He spotted the ball pretty well. He hit spots that he wanted to hit."
Wilson's shaky beginning was punctuated when Columbus' Melky Cabrera hammered the game's first pitch for a 387-foot home run to right center. The crowd of 6,985 held its collective breath when the next batter, Kevin Reese, hit a high fly ball in the same direction. It died on the warning track.
"It was disheartening," Wilson said of the home run. "You're just trying to get a first-pitch fastball over the plate. The guy hits it out of the park. There's not a worse feeling. But you don't let one homer bother you."
Louisville tied it in the bottom half when Abad launched a two-out home run.
Wilson surrendered back-to-back one-out doubles to Kevin Thompson and Will Nieves in the second as Columbus took a 2-1 lead.
In the eighth, Cabrera hit a two-out, two-run single to make the score 4-1.
The Bats got the game's final run in the eighth on Earl Snyder's RBI double.
Jose Veras worked a perfect ninth to save it for Matt Childers (1-2) as Columbus earned a split of the two-game series.
The Bats will start an eight-game road trip tomorrow when they begin a four-game series at Charlotte.
Bats infielder Aaron Holbert was activated from the disabled list. He had been on the DL since the season's start after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee.
Michael Grant can be reached at (502) 582-4069