Wilson excited for playoff chance

Red-eyed but smiling, a travel-weary Jack Wilson arrived in the Braves clubhouse about 10 minutes before 6 p.m. Thursday night, excited to join a team in a playoff hunt for the first time in his 11-year career.

“Oh yeah, first time I think I’ve even smelled it,” said Wilson, who spent 8 ½ losing seasons with the Pirates and the past 2 ½ with Seattle. “It’s exciting just to be in a playoff run. Obviously the team here and the organization as a whole is pretty legendary, and some of the guys in this room. Playing against them for so many years in Pittsburgh, it’s nice to be on the other side.”

Wilson, who was traded late Wednesday night with cash for a player to be named, was up early to catch a 7 a.m. flight pacific time, and had a 90-minute layover in Salt Lake City. But a little sleeplessness was his only complaint. The sore heel that has him on the disabled list is feeling good, he said, and he’ll be ready to come off when he’s eligible on Friday.

Wilson said the timing worked out perfectly that he could show the Braves in a full workout Wednesday he was ready to go.

Waiting for him here is a backup middle infield job and some insurance if Alex Gonzalez or Dan Uggla gets injured.

“I’ve always admired him across the way when he played with the Pirates,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “This guy made some plays defensively; he’s really, really good. You can do some stuff with him offensively, bunt, hit and run. He’s one of those baseball players. They just come out and beat you. I’m looking forward to having him on the club for the rest of the way.”

Wilson wore No. 2 in Pittsburgh and Seattle, but Alex Gonzalez wears it here, and No. 3 is retired for Dale Murphy. So a No. 1 jersey waiting on Wilson in his new locker.

“It hasn’t really hit me yet,” Wilson said. “(But) when you walk in here and see the jersey and see some of the guys, it’s pretty exciting.”

Wilson played with Eric Hinske and Nate McLouth in Pittsburgh and played on the same All-Star team that toured Japan in 2004 with Scott Linebrink.

To make room for Wilson on the 40-man roster, the Braves designated left-hander Dustin Richardson for assignment. He’d already cleared waivers and accepted a return assignment to Gwinnett.

49 comments Add your comment

DHD

September 1st, 2011
8:39 pm

Welcome to the ATL!!!!!!

@bosoque

September 1st, 2011
8:44 pm

DHD, you spelled “first” wrong.

Inside Guy

September 1st, 2011
8:57 pm

Late night trade and the red eye out? And is forced to make it for first pitch on the east coast with a 30 min layover? Jeez, this guy needs to get into the Atlanta version of the newspaper beat writer business and taker easy.

Trainwreck

September 1st, 2011
9:12 pm

Good for him. Hopefully he has a few clutch ABs before the season is over

Blue Hose Dave

September 1st, 2011
9:15 pm

Great pickup! Great option to give Uggla and/or Gonzo a rest down stretch.

Eric in Tampa

September 1st, 2011
9:16 pm

Subtle and effective moves. Solid. Thumbs up.

puff

September 1st, 2011
9:48 pm

Always liked Wilson, he’s a scrapper

BraveFacts

September 1st, 2011
9:54 pm

Surely he’s better than Gonzo … who must be leading the league in runners left on base & # of times hit into a double play.

Atlien

September 1st, 2011
10:07 pm

Great acquisition – this guy will produce.

Boo

September 1st, 2011
10:31 pm

I REALLY feel good about this team.

Vino Fino

September 1st, 2011
10:42 pm

Who the heck is Dustin Richardson and why do guys like that take up space on our 40 man?

Smiling Jack

September 1st, 2011
11:00 pm

Just shows you don’t know squat about who the Braves players are. Good thing blogers are not General Managers charged with knowing the players and making decisions. I think our Braves Pros do a great job regardless of the opinions of some fans. Great pickup…welcome to Braves and Braves Country Jack Wilson. May you really get to help WIN a World Series.

Eugene

September 1st, 2011
11:44 pm

So he gets to wear Albert Hall’s #1 jersey?

Heyward grounds out to second

September 2nd, 2011
12:06 am

Glad we’re getting a good back up shortstop, and maybe somebody that can put the pressure on Gonzo to start performing at the plate as he did tonight.

Welcome to Atlanta, Jack! Hope you do well, and help us win a championship!

milo

September 2nd, 2011
12:38 am

dont see how this is an improvement over LUGO

Terry Hunter

September 2nd, 2011
12:59 am

As a long time Jack Wilson fan from the Pittsburgh area, I’m glad to see him finally get a chance at post season play. Seattle treated him poorly yet he didn’t complain and he played hard every time he got the chance to be on the field. I’ve been hoping a contending team would be smart enough to pick him up. Congratulations to the Braves. He will definitely help you.

Ryan

September 2nd, 2011
3:52 am

@ milo
I don’t see how basically anyone is not an upgrade over Lugo. What do you think Lugo does better than Wilson? Is it the fact he plays much, much worse defense than Wilson? How about his 136 average, that must be it. No wait! It’s probably his 136 slugging %! He sure seems like a world-beater to me!

Lugo is trash at this point in his career. Just dropping him from the roster and having a batboy as the backup would be a better alternative. Wilson instead of Lugo means this team is deeper and better. We have more late-game options for both the field and for PH (PH for Agonz and bring in Wilson as the replacement).

rudy

September 2nd, 2011
7:25 am

GO BRAVES!!!!!! just keep winning cos philly keeps winning

Kurtis

September 2nd, 2011
7:50 am

I agree with puff, I”ve always liked Jack Wilson too. He is a scrapper who plays the game right. Like Dan Uggla does. Plus, he can pick it at short. Great addition to the team!!

JoeBravesFan

September 2nd, 2011
8:16 am

It just gets better and better!!! Welcome to ATL Jack…you should be a definite upgrade over Lugo!

JoeBravesFan

September 2nd, 2011
8:18 am

@Ryan: Well said!

JMF

September 2nd, 2011
8:34 am

I think it is only right that when we are critical of our GM that when he makes a good move we should appauld him. Two good trades.

Gil In Mechanicsville

September 2nd, 2011
8:52 am

Always like Jumping Jack Flash… Thought he was a real ball player… Love a team full of hustlers. Now with Heyward returning to form, I really like the Braves chances in the post season.

Ted Abernathy

September 2nd, 2011
8:56 am

Can’t believe we gave up on Wes Helms.
Maybe we can now concentrate on getting Wilson Betemit and Andruw Jones back before the season ends.

Kurtis

September 2nd, 2011
9:04 am

Didn’t Wes Helms asked to be released because he didn’t feel as if he could contribute like he wanted because of some sort of nagging injury? Or did I dream all of that?

Kurtis

September 2nd, 2011
9:06 am

Yep, just read it on the other DOB blog.

Donovan

September 2nd, 2011
9:15 am

Don’t know anything about Jack Wilson, but I sure do like the name. Sounds like a good old American baseball name. A breath of fresh air and maybe some good old tonic for the Braves to enjoy.

Sutton's Fro

September 2nd, 2011
9:47 am

Glad to see another solid utility player on the bench. Just don’t give him the cursed locker!!

wins-by-a-link

September 2nd, 2011
10:14 am

Wilson is a solid pick-up and no doubt will hit for higher avg than Lugo, FW has done about all he can do under present budget constraints, Now we have to see how bad the players want a ring, Lets hope we can avoid injuries during this stretch run, We have had our share.

henry from TN

September 2nd, 2011
10:16 am

wilson should be a big plus over gonzo maybe they will keep wilson next year and let gonzo go they should DFS lugo to make room for wilson….

wins-by-a-link

September 2nd, 2011
10:17 am

Enter your comments here

henry from TN

September 2nd, 2011
10:18 am

DFA lugo i meant to say…

Doug

September 2nd, 2011
10:43 am

Lugo was a gamble and we know the odds when you take a chance, no sense ragging on him, afterall the Brass sought him out. That said Jack Wilson is a great addition, maybe not flashy but solid.

K Conley

September 2nd, 2011
11:14 am

I don’t give out compliments to GMs on very many occasions, but let me just say that I absolutely love the move (Bourn) and the subtle moves of Wilson and Diaz. People who know baseball know that Frank improved this team in a big way.

cosmo

September 2nd, 2011
11:44 am

in andruw’s defense slugging avg 510 – been hitting over 300 the last month or so limited abs- the yankees don’t keep ‘em long if they can’t play- not a bad right hand power bat- not any slower afoot than Helms or Diaz

Skyrider

September 2nd, 2011
12:07 pm

It’s good to see Dennis Reynolds has something great to add to this blog

GaryinBham

September 2nd, 2011
12:37 pm

Great adds, both. Little things can make big differences. Go Braves!!

Mitchell

September 2nd, 2011
1:32 pm

Jack Wilson looks like a guy who was born to wear a Pirate uniform.

I thought he had played for a bunch of other teams but I guess he was a Pirate for a pretty long time.

It’ll be good to have somebody like him. He plays hard.

That counts for something, doesn’t it?

jayvee

September 2nd, 2011
1:57 pm

Wilson is a gritty, solid, clutch player, and has been for a long time. Not sure how much action he’ll see — probably will give Uggs and Gonzo some rest over the next few weeks. He’s impressed me the first time I ever saw him play, and always continued to impress. Great acquisition as far as skill AND character. Add in Diaz, who’s a known quantity and beloved for his swing-like-a-mofo-in-case-you-hit-it approach at the plate, and I think these moves look very good. Still concerned about Prado, who’s badly out of sorts. And, of course, the starting pitching after Hudson and Beachy. Actually, the starting pitching is making me most anxious right now.

Heisenberg

September 2nd, 2011
1:58 pm

With AGon gone after this season, Wilson could be the guy next year if he shows he can still play and hit. There may be a few prospects down on the farm, but so far it is hard to say if any of them will be ready for 2012. I think Wilson is a FA after 2011 but Braves should look into getting him to come back next year.

Smoove Criminal

September 2nd, 2011
3:37 pm

Heisenberg, Wilson is a FA at the end of the year. I think I like this pickup better than getting Diaz back. Wilson’s years in Seattle are forgetable, but he had a good career in Pittsburgh. You have to applaud the man for giving everything he had on a day to day basis to a team that he probably knew would never be anywhere close to .500 much less the playoffs.

On a side note, now that Wren picked up Wilson for infield depth Brooks Conrad can probably throw his glove in the trash. Barring a ton of injuries, I’m glad there won’t be a possibility for NLDS meltdown 2.0. Thankfully he can still hit from the left side though.

Lakedawg

September 2nd, 2011
3:47 pm

Ryan-

If my memory serves me, Lugo is a wife-beater, not a world beater.

John A

September 2nd, 2011
4:30 pm

For those of you who do not know Jack Wilson…..AGON cannot carry his glove, and his defesive skills outweighs that of AGON and LUGO. Fredi would be wise to insert him in the lineup asap, Jack along with the speedsters will demonstrate their worth.

Jack all the best here in Atlanta!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Talls

September 2nd, 2011
4:32 pm

I thought Jack had another year left on the contract, and the Braves got cash considerations for the next year for our PTBNL. I am wondering who those PTBNL will be, but doubt it’ll be anyone highly prized at this point.

Barry

September 2nd, 2011
4:45 pm

Jack Wilson is a ball player. Great move.

Bourn to be a Brave

September 2nd, 2011
4:46 pm

Yes, most everyone is quick to lambast the General Manager when trades go bad, or when no trade is made to bolster a team
. I’ve heard them called every name in the book. I want to take this opportunity, and urge others here on this blog, to give kudos to the Braves GM where accolades are due:

Mr. Frank Wren, thank you for your expertise in knowing the players, and implementing the very best trades you could to make the 2011 Braves a playoff caliber team; a very solid World Series caliber team. Hats off to you, sir.

gadawgs

September 2nd, 2011
5:34 pm

Great job Mr. Wren! Love the Wilson p/u as well as Matty! I love this team and if our SP can hold up I love our chances come October!! Go Braves!!!

Shadetree

September 2nd, 2011
5:41 pm

Good move and gotta love the way Wilson plays.

Our pitching is starting to tire (except for Lowe and Huddy) we have no pitchers that have gone full season at this level. Beachy looks like our 3rd mand and we will see tonight. Watch and see that Lowe will come through. He is a dog but when it comes money time he steps up the pace. Wait and see. I would keep Lowe and Huddy on the regular days and then take Beachy, Minor, Delgado and JJ and place them between the 2 so they get the extras rest and will likely pitch every 6th or 7th day.

Go Braves!!!

Doc Holliday

September 2nd, 2011
10:15 pm

I love how the Braves announcers simply stop talking for the most part when Atlanta is having a bad inning. It’s as if their circuits shut down when they can’t spit out endless stats about how wonderful the Braves are.

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