Yes, the headline is correct. Josh Wilson is getting a start at first base today.
Wilson has never actually played at first base in a game in his career. And I'm pretty certain he had to borrow a first baseman's glove, most likely from Mike Sweeney. Not sure if Wilson had to give Sweeney a hug as part of the conditions for borrowing it.
So why play Wilson there?
Well it's to keep Wilson in the lineup, and also to get Mike Sweeney some at-bats.
"We talked about the need of getting Mike Sweeney in there, especially coming into Milwaukee and him not having a lot of at-bats because of being on the DL," Wakamatsu said. "We thought today would be a good day to get him some at-bats. The last time we played him at first base he came up with a little bit of an achilles problem. That's a concern. And we wanted to keep Josh in the lineup. He's plenty athletic to do it and it will be a good experience for him."
As for Wilson's biggest challenge at first?
"It's all about timing and the other thing is knowing what balls you should go after it," Wakamatsu said. "As a middle infielder, you feel like you have the opportunity to get to a lot of balls. He just needs to know the paramenters of what he can get to."
With the impending return of Doug Fister, Wakamatsu has to make a few decisions with the rotation because he intends to have Cliff Lee and Felix Hernandez start the first two games of the series in New York.
Right now, the rotation slots out like this ...
- Friday -- Rowland-Smith vs. Dave Bush
- Saturday - Fister vs. Randy Wolf
- Sunday - Vargas vs. Chris Narveson
- Monday - off
- Tuesday - Lee
- Wednesday -- Felix
- Thursday -- TBA
"It' s complicated," Wakamatsu said. "Right now, because of the offday we can pick and choose how we want to handle it on the next turn."
You know what else will complicate things? Erik Bedard.
He is inching closer to returning. He threw a bullpen yesterday and will start on Saturday in Arizona. If all goes well, he would likely start on Thursday, July 1 in Tacoma and if that goes well he could be ready for the rotation and make his debut on Tuesday, July 6th against the Royals at Safeco.
"If his pitch count is up and he feels good, that could be a possibility," Wakamatsu said.
But they've waited this long for Bedard, so if he wants another rehab start after throwing in Tacoma, they will give him one.
"The reports were pretty good, but he was up in the zone a little bit," Wakamatsu said. "We're concerned with the fine tuning. "
- Kosuke Fukudome RF
- Ryan Theriot 2B
- Marlon Byrd DH
- Derrek Lee 1B
- Tyler Colvin CF
- Xavier Nady LF
- Mike Fontenot SS
- Chad Tracy 3B
- Koyie Hill C
LHP Ted Lilly (2-6, 3.42 ERA)
- Ichiro RF
- Chone Figgins 2B
- Mike Sweeney DH
- Jose Lopez 3b
- Franklin Gutierrez CF
- Josh Wilson 1B
- Rob Johnson C
- Jack Wilson SS
- Michael Saunders LF
RHP Felix Hernandez (5-5, 3.39 ERA)