LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- After missing four weeks of spring training with a strained calf, veteran shortstop Jack Wilson has stepped up his rehab work in recent days and hopes to open the season on the Braves’ 25-man roster and not the disabled list.
“I don’t think that [DL] is going to have to happen,” said Wilson, who ran at 90-percent effort this week and hit Saturday for the first time. “If [he went on the DL] it would be to get more at-bats or more playing time [in the minors].
“At this point I’m just going to see how it does day-to-day, but it feels fantastic.”
He will field grounders for the first time in the next few days and hopes to play in a week. Wilson will initially play spring-training minor league games to get a lot of at-bats – a rehabbing player can hit every inning in those games – but he also wants to play some Grapefruit League games.
He was hurt Feb. 14 during a conditioning drill a few days before reporting to spring training. The initial prognosis was a 4-6 week recovery period, and it was assumed he would open the season on the DL after missing most of camp.
He was re-signed this winter to serve as backup for the rookie starting shortstop. At that time it was assumed the starter would be Tyler Pastornicky, but prospect Andrelton Simmons is having a strong spring and also getting consideration for the starting job.
Hudson faces hitters next week
Tim Hudson is five or six days from facing hitters in batting practice — and maybe five or six weeks from rejoining the Braves rotation.
Recovering from Nov. 28 lumbar spine-fusion surgery, the veteran threw his first bullpen sessions off the mound Wednesday and Friday. He’ll have one or two more before the next step — facing hitters in batting practice, which he’ll probably do a few times.
Barring setbacks, Hudson should be ready around May 1 and possibly a little sooner.
“If everything goes well I might be able to get in one of these [Grapefruit League] games,” said the 36-year-old right-hander, who expects to make five or six minor-league rehab starts, building to six innings and about 100 pitches before he comes off the disabled list.
The rehab starts will effectively serve as his spring-training games. Hudson said he felt great Saturday after his second time off the mound. His back isn’t giving him any problems, but he said there’s plenty of work ahead to strength and stamina before he’s game-ready.
“Getting up and down between innings is the hardest on your body, especially for somebody coming off an injury,” Hudson said. “If you throw 15 or 20 pitches in an inning and then you sit down for 15-20 minutes, say [your team] has a nice inning, then you feel like you might need a wheelchair to get back out there. Your body after so many minutes starts to go into recovery mode.
“That’s why in a lot of dugouts we have an exercise bike, to keep that motor going a little bit if you have a long inning.”
Josh Wilson has missed 10 days with a strained hamstring. The journeyman shortstop and utility infielder could be ready to play by Monday… Lefty Mike Minor, the Braves’ best starter so far this spring, makes his fourth start Sunday against Baltimore at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports. The Orioles will start right-hander Jason Hammel.