Wil­son runs a lit­tle wild in win

Pitcher courts dis­as­ter on a cringe-in­duc­ing dive into sec­ond base in his try for a dou­ble.

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Mike DiGiovanna mike.digiovanna@latimes.com Twit­ter: @MikeDi­Gio­vanna

The pitcher tries a risky slide at sec­ond, but comes out un­scathed.

PHOENIX — It’s all fun and games un­til some­body gets hurt. That ex­pres­sion, ut­tered by par­ents to kids for gen­er­a­tions, was ring­ing in the ears of An­gels Man­ager Mike Scios­cia in the fifth in­ning of Thurs­day’s 7-1 vic­tory over the Ari­zona Di­a­mond­backs at Chase Field.

Scios­cia watched in hor­ror as pitcher C.J. Wil­son, try­ing to stretch a sin­gle into a dou­ble in a two-run game, launched his body into a wild, twist­ing head­first slide into sec­ond base in an at­tempt to avoid short­stop Nick Ahmed’s tag.

The left-han­der was called out as he tried to reach back for the base with his right hand. Af­ter hit­ting the ground, Wil­son f lipped over on his left side, his mo­men­tum car­ry­ing him a few feet be­yond the bag.

Wil­son is ath­letic for a pitcher and was a good out­fielder in col­lege, but Mike Trout, he is not. Wil­son, 34, has been an Amer­i­can League pitcher for 11 years, which means he doesn’t hit much — this was his 28th ca­reer at-bat — and runs the bases even less.

It seemed like a dis­as­ter wait­ing to hap­pen, but Wil­son, much to the re­lief of his man­ager, got up af­ter the play, ran off the field and re­mained in the game, giv­ing up one run and nine hits in eight in­nings, strik­ing out nine and walk­ing none to im­prove to 5-5 and lower his earned-run av­er­age to 3.39.

That did lit­tle to mol­lify Scios­cia, who clearly thought Wil­son’s baserun­ning was reck­less.

“Those are the kinds of slides that end ca­reers if it’s on the wrong side,” Scios­cia said.

“I was ob­vi­ously con­cerned when I saw it. C.J. felt it was more on his right side, he’s ath­letic enough, and he came out of it un­scathed. … But you still cringe when you see a pitcher do­ing that.”

The An­gels had scored all of 11 runs in their pre­vi­ous five games and had a 2-0 lead when Wil­son lined his twoout sin­gle to right-cen­ter. Think­ing he would have a much bet­ter chance of scor­ing from sec­ond, Wil­son did not slow as he rounded first and right fielder Yas­many To­mas fielded the ball.

“I got a good break out of the box and ran hard — I was gonna chal­lenge him right there,” Wil­son said. “I work on a lot of ply­o­met­rics and stuff like that, so I fig­ured I might as well try to f lex the New Bal­ances a lit­tle bit. He made a per­fect throw. I tried to do a Mike Trout tur­boslide, but he just nicked me in the el­bow.”

Plenty of Amer­i­can League pitch­ers look over­matched in the bat­ter’s box and awk­ward on the basepa­ths, but Wil­son, in an ef­fort to be a com­plete player, has al­ways taken those tasks se­ri­ously.

“If you’re a bad ath­lete, then you’re not go­ing to try some­thing like that,” Wil­son said. “I’m a good ath­lete, so ev­ery time I get on base I’m ei­ther gonna try to ad­vance on a ground ball or a wild pitch or break up a dou­ble play. It’s the way I’ve al­ways played.

“I’m not gonna con­cede any ef­fort level out there, be­cause in a one- or two-run game, an in­sur­ance run could be the dif­fer­ence. I ex­pect all the play­ers to play hard all the time, and we do. I went up to [Erick] Ay­bar and asked if that was stupid. He was like, ‘I would’ve done the same thing.’ I was like, ‘All right, cool.’ ”

Be­fore Wil­son’s slide, the An­gels had some ac­tual fun and games, giv­ing Tay­lor Feather­ston the silent treat­ment when the .100-hit­ting rookie in­fielder re­turned to the dugout af­ter lin­ing his first ca­reer homer to left for a 1-0 lead in the third.

“Grow­ing up, you al­ways see that on Sport­sCen­ter,” said Feather­ston, who was even­tu­ally mobbed. “It’s part of the game, a rite of pas­sage. I loved it.”

The An­gels en­joyed it so much that when Johnny Gi­avotella hit a solo homer two bat­ters later, they gave him the silent treat­ment with a twist, even though it was the sec­ond base­man’s sixth ca­reer homer.

“I was a lit­tle shocked,” Gi­avotella said. “I came in and no one was con­grat­u­lat­ing me. I felt like I just struck out.”

Scios­cia then called Gi­avotella over and, in the words of Gi­avotella, “reamed me out” for be­ing out of po­si­tion dur­ing a Paul Gold­schmidt at-bat. A minute later, the en­tire bench broke out in laugh­ter, and Scios­cia con­grat­u­lated Gi­avotella.

“Af­ter that,” Gi­avotella said, “it was a lit­tle less stress­ful.”

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