Tigers infielder allows home run in fourth big league appearance on mound
By Alden Woods
NEW YORK -- Josh Wilson has done this a few times before, so he knows how it works, he said. He's no longer the 26-year-old shortstop who stood on the mound and threw fastball after fastball as hard as he could. Now, he's a 34-year-old second baseman who knows when to take something off a pitch. He even tried a curveball.
In the eighth inning of the Tigers' 14-3 loss to the Yankees on Saturday, manager Brad Ausmus decided to give his bullpen a breather. So instead of putting a reliever in the game, he shifted Wilson from second base to the mound.
"He's done it before, so it's not his first time on the mound," Ausmus said. "It picks up the bullpen, saves somebody being out there."
Wilson had thrown three Major League innings, holding an 0-1 record and a 9.00 ERA. He last pitched in 2009, allowing three runs to the D-backs while with the Padres.
That experience, he said, taught him a little something about pitching. It's not all fastballs and velocity.
"I felt like each time I've gone out, I've learned kind of what it takes to get guys out," Wilson said.
So it was out with the fastballs, in with offspeed pitches and a breaking ball or two. Unfortunately for Wilson, that switch didn't result in a smooth inning. Yankees left fielder Chris Young took Wilson's fourth pitch of the night -- an 84-mph curveball -- and sent it into the left-field seats.
Wilson recovered at the plate in the ninth, hitting a single to become a rare pitcher to tally a hit at Yankee Stadium.
"I'm here to help any way I can," he said.
Alden Woods is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.