Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Brian Wilson was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a nerve irritation in his right (pitching) elbow, the team announced following Tuesday’s 3-2 win over the San Diego Padres.

Ken Gurnick of MLB.com first reported Wilson was having issues with his elbow:

Wilson, 32, was not one of the four relievers manager Don Mattingly used to close out the win for starter Zack GreinkeJ.P. Howell occupied the eighth-inning role that Wilson was supposed to shore up this season.

In his second season with the Dodgers, Wilson was already having trouble returning to his 2013 form. He imploded in the team’s U.S. opener on Sunday night, allowing three earned runs and failing to record an out in a 3-1 victory for San Diego. Wilson held in his first appearance of the season in Australia.

Known for at times wild inconsistencies (as well as bouts with being borderline unhittable), Wilson’s game-costing inning was something the Dodgers rarely saw last season. In 18 regular-season appearances, the flame-throwing righty allowed just one earned run—a streak that earned him a one-year, $10 million contract from the team this offseason.

“One thing with Brian, he’s always on the edge and he’s always painting,” Mattingly told reporters following the loss. “Tonight it seemed like he must have been missing that edge out there. He wasn’t as sharp as we’ve seen him.”

Now, it seems the Dodgers are going to be getting used to another side of Wilson. The bearded reliever, once an integral part of the San Francisco Giants‘ 2010 World Series team, saw his career nearly end due to battles with arm injuries. He has twice undergone Tommy John surgery, first in college at LSU and then again in April 2012

The Giants allowed Wilson to walk into free agency the following winter, where he waited until midway through the summer of 2013 to sign on with the rival Dodgers. Given his history, it will be interesting to see how the Dodgers handle the injury. Mattingly said Wilson “felt some things going on” in his elbow, per ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, but he did not indicate the severity.

Adrian Garro of Fox Sports noted that, on the surface, the prognosis doesn’t sound promising:

According to Brooks Baseball, Wilson’s velocity was down from his 2013 self, which could either have been an early sign of injury or simply a guy working his way back into top condition. Depending on how a player reacts to spring training, velocity can at times take a little longer to get back.

Regardless, the Dodgers have to feel a little more shaky now than they did heading into the season. Howell, Chris Perez and Brandon League are all capable of stepping into a potential set-up role for as long as Wilson is out, but none touch the consistency he gave to the role last season. Perez was, at one point in his career, groomed as one of the league’s best set-up men, so it could work out over the long term.

Even at 3-1 after Tuesday’s win, this still wasn’t the way Wilson or the Dodgers envisioned Year 2 of their relationship starting.


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