McCarthy, Wilson starring at camp
Returning from injury, Rangers pitchers impressing Washington
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Left-handed reliever C.J. Wilson and right-hander Brandon McCarthy have been the early hits of the pitching staff so far in camp, according to manager Ron Washington.Both are coming back from injury, so just seeing them on the mound and healthy is a big step for the Rangers. McCarthy had to deal with shoulder inflammation for much of last year and ended the season with a strained ligament in the middle finger on his right hand. He has made just 27 starts and one relief appearance in two seasons since being acquired from the White Sox, going 6-11 with a 4.73 ERA.
"He's controlling the ball down in the zone and not trying to prove anything to people," Washington said. "The last couple years, he was trying too hard to prove that he was worthy of the trade. He doesn't have to do that. If he's healthy, he'll give us what we need."Wilson was the Rangers' closer last year but was shut down in August by a bone spur and chips in his left elbow. He ended up with 24 saves and a 6.02 ERA. "There is a lot of life on his fastball down in the zone," Washington said. "He's also staying in his delivery much better, he's not falling off all over the place." Wilson's health problems and erratic mechanics contributed to 5.02 walks per nine innings and 18.9 pitches per inning last year. He needs to reduce both significantly, and he is at least off to a good start. "I've been extremely accurate," Wilson said. "I have corrected my weak link. I feel my accuracy is on. That's all that matters. It's amazing to throw with a healthy arm." Rangers pitchers have been alternating days throwing 5-7 minutes in the bullpen and then 10 minutes of batting practice to hitters. That will continue until Monday, when the Rangers play the first of two intrasquad scrimmages, followed by the first exhibition game against the Royals. Jason Jennings and Kason Gabbard, who both had elbow surgery last year, are the only two not ready to throw in games.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.