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Thread: Could Paul Wilson Be The Sleeper In 2006?

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    Could Paul Wilson Be The Sleeper In 2006?

    A healthy Paul Wilson could greatly help out the rotation come 2006.

    Wilson seeing progress in rehab
    Pitcher throwing fastballs on mound, ramping up velocity
    By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com

    CINCINNATI -- With his new-look long and flowing hair, Reds right-handed pitcher Paul Wilson knows he looks more like a hard rock singer or a skateboarder these days.
    But Wilson remains every bit of a ballplayer, and he's finally starting to feel like it again.

    Major surgery was performed on the 32-year-old's right shoulder in June, ending his 2005 season. Wilson was finally cleared two weeks ago to start throwing in a rehabilitation program at the Reds' Spring Training complex in Sarasota, Fla.

    "When you get hurt, you don't know who you are anymore," Wilson said at Great American Ball Park on Thursday while in town for a checkup. "You're not the same ballplayer. You see your buddies out there playing and it grinds on you. It's a mental thing. It's the hardest thing."

    Before beginning his program, Wilson was able to convince head trainer Mark Mann to cut short his own offseason to come down and work with him.

    "There was some negotiating, some payments -- dinners and lunches and all that stuff," Wilson joked. "Anything that it took to get him down there, I was willing to do. Whether it was pay for his flights, pay for his meals, call up (former general manager) Dan O'Brien when he was here and plead for (Mann) to come down."

    Mann said he didn't need much coaxing. He actually offered his services last summer.

    "Paul is the kind of guy he's always been a hard working individual and had that reputation since we got him," Mann said by phone from Sarasota. "Paul is such a big part of our team and our pitching staff, you couldn't say anything but yes. The kind of character guy he is and what he means to our team, it's a no-brainer. This was something that had to be done."

    Mann has helped Wilson with his stretching and working out. He has supervised a throwing program that has the pitcher working off a mound every other day and also long tossing baseballs around 150 feet to build arm strength.

    Wilson has been throwing only fastballs from the mound and his sessions usually last about 60 pitches. Most of the time, he throws only with 50 percent of his velocity but escalated to 75 percent effort in the second half of Wednesday's outing.

    So far, so good. No pain has been reported.

    "Every week, I'm getting stronger," said Wilson, who was 1-5 with a 7.77 ERA last season before shutting down. "I can see and feel my arm getting stronger every week. I'm encouraged. I'm really encouraged."

    "To this point, he's done outstanding," Mann said.

    Rehab is a process Wilson has known far too well. In his days with the Mets, he missed most of 1998 following his first significant shoulder surgery in late 1997. Tommy John surgery on his right elbow wiped out all of 1999.

    Reds orthopedic surgeon Dr. Tim Kremchek performed his most recent operation and Wilson has the unfortunate perspective of knowing how much medical technology has improved when it comes to fixing shoulders.

    "The technology and some of the screws and wiring they put in my shoulder came about two years ago," Wilson said. "There are some new things in there. I could tell within two or three weeks after surgery that my range of motion was 10 times better. It took a few months to get my arm over my head the first time. It took three weeks to get over my head this time."

    An 11-win season and 4.36 ERA in 183 2/3 innings during 2004 earned Wilson a two-year, $8.2 million contract signed before last season. Fulfilling the expectations that came with that deal was as important to the pitcher as it was for the Reds.

    "It's not like I'm a young kid anymore," Wilson said. There are responsibilities and obligations, not only to me and my family but to this organization and this team. I want to live up to that."

    If Wilson has no setbacks with his rehab or during Spring Training, he'll likely be able to. The Reds believe he could be fully healthy in April and be their fifth starter. With more off days in the early stretch of the schedule, manager Jerry Narron could begin with a four-man rotation that would allow Wilson extra time to get ready until the fifth spot finally comes up.

    "Our goal is to have Paul Wilson back when he's Paul Wilson once again," Mann said. "We want to progress him and progress him at a rapid rate. But we want the pitcher we had in 2004 back. We don't want a guy that's going to go out there and struggle and not be the 2004 pitcher he was in the second half."

    "I'm very confident," Wilson said. "There's nothing to say otherwise right now. We've mapped out exactly what we're supposed to be doing the next 1 1/2-2 months. We've been following that. We have goals every week and we've been meeting them. If things stay the way they are, I see no problems."


    Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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    Re: Could Paul Wilson Be The Sleeper In 2006?

    Per Marc:

    Ready to roll

    Paul Wilson was in town today for a quick checkup before heading back to Sarasota to continue his throwing. Went down to talk to him briefly before he headed to the airport, and I was stunned at how he looked. He has dropped about 20 pounds since the end of last season and seemed a lot more energetic and fired up than at any point in 2005.

    He did address the reluctance on his part to admit he was injured before he finally shut it down last May and had shoulder surgery a few weeks later.

    "On one side weíre trying to be honest, and on the other side weíre trying to protect ourselves," he said. "I donít want anybody else to think that maybe I might be hurt or anything like that, nobody does. But there comes a point where, am I being selfish because I feel like I can get somebody out?

    "Me going out there and competing Ė sometimes noble, but it probably wasnít the best thing, because ultimately our team lost. It came to a point where I just felt like I couldnít help the team, and for me to say that, it was tough. It wasnít giving up, it was just 'Iím not doing anything to help this team.' I was actually making it worse, because then other guys would press behind me and itís a snowball thing. ... I physically couldnít do what I wanted to do, and thatís a pretty bad feeling."

    posted by Marc @ 8:14 PM 4 comments



    i am still not expecting much from him this year, but who knows he is better than some of our other options

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    Your killin' me Smalls! StillFunkyB's Avatar
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    Re: Could Paul Wilson Be The Sleeper In 2006?

    If the Reds are counting on him, then they are in trouble.

    I wish Paul the best, but I just don't think it's going to happen.
    "And the fact that watching him pitch is like having someone poop on your soul." FCB on Gary Majewski

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    The Lineups stink. KronoRed's Avatar
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    Re: Could Paul Wilson Be The Sleeper In 2006?

    Sleeper being a guy who might win 10 games and post an era under 5?

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    Re: Could Paul Wilson Be The Sleeper In 2006?

    Sleeper being a guy who falls asleep in the dugout after getting shelled in the 3rd inning and thus having nothing more to do for the remaining 6 innings...

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    Re: Could Paul Wilson Be The Sleeper In 2006?

    I think Wilson will make a solid comeback this year, if he can get back to where he was a couple of years ago he can really provide some stability to this team...

    Paul was on the news last night and along with other reports it looks like he is in much better shape than last year...Hopefully that translates into success...

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    This one's for you Edd Heath's Avatar
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    Re: Could Paul Wilson Be The Sleeper In 2006?

    Maybe we could have co-closers - Milton AND Wilson....
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    He has the Evil Eye! flyer85's Avatar
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    Re: Could Paul Wilson Be The Sleeper In 2006?

    I'd rather it be Matt Belisle

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    Churlish Johnny Footstool's Avatar
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    Re: Could Paul Wilson Be The Sleeper In 2006?

    We've reached a sad state if we think Paul Wilson is going to be a difference-maker for the Reds.

    The legacy of DanO = failing to cash in on fluke seasons from vets and deal them for decent prospects. See Wilson, Mercker, Weathers, Aurilia.
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    Re: Could Paul Wilson Be The Sleeper In 2006?

    On the otherhand, IF Wilson and Williams can stay healthy there is no reason they can't win 10-13 games each. Hopefully Claussen and Harang can build on their 2005 performances and win 13-15 games apiece. As for Eric Milton, it don't get much worse than last year. If he can make that sinkerball work, maybe he can come closer to putting up numbers he did with Philadelphia.
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    Re: Could Paul Wilson Be The Sleeper In 2006?

    what have we learned about using wins to compare pitchers?
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    RaisorZone Raisor's Avatar
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    Re: Could Paul Wilson Be The Sleeper In 2006?

    Stock tip:

    Start snatching up any company that specializes in bailing wire and/or duct tape.
    "But I do know Joey's sister indirectly (or foster sister) and I have heard stories of Joey being into shopping, designer wear, fancy coffees, and pedicures."

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    A Lost Ball In High Weeds shredda2000's Avatar
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    Re: Could Paul Wilson Be The Sleeper In 2006?

    I wish Paul Wilson the best in his comeback...I hope he surprises all of us.

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    RaisorZone Raisor's Avatar
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    Re: Could Paul Wilson Be The Sleeper In 2006?

    By the way, not to pat myself on the back, but I'm one of the very few that was against the Reds signing Wilson the first time, let alone the insane deal he's under now.

    I know it's not fair, me being this good looking AND smart.
    "But I do know Joey's sister indirectly (or foster sister) and I have heard stories of Joey being into shopping, designer wear, fancy coffees, and pedicures."

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    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Re: Could Paul Wilson Be The Sleeper In 2006?

    Quote Originally Posted by reds_fan29
    "Me going out there and competing Ė sometimes noble, but it probably wasnít the best thing, because ultimately our team lost. It came to a point where I just felt like I couldnít help the team, and for me to say that, it was tough. It wasnít giving up, it was just 'Iím not doing anything to help this team.' I was actually making it worse, because then other guys would press behind me and itís a snowball thing. ... I physically couldnít do what I wanted to do, and thatís a pretty bad feeling."
    Yeah, this quote really bothers me. He kept getting shelled last year and resented any accusations he was hurt. When it was suggested he get an MRI it had to be suggested very carefully since Wilson claimed he wasn't hurt. Yet he kept going out there every 5 days or so and getting the crap kicked out of him. I know it's supposed to be honorable to play through pain and injuries but when you're hurt and ineffective it's time to get the arm looked at. This doesn't apply in Wilson's case but that's one reason I'm against incentive laden contracts for pitchers. But in regards to Wilson, how are we to know if he's pitching poorly because he sucks or because he's injured because we sure can't take his word for it.
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