ARLINGTON -- C.J. Wilson is still the Rangers' closer, provided he is 100 percent and he can get some mechanical issues straightened out. Until then, manager Ron Washington reserves the right to consider alternatives in trying to protect a ninth-inning lead, and that may be the case during the four-game series with the Yankees. All that's clear is Wilson is not 100 percent physically, he's not mechanically right and this is an extremely touchy subject for everybody involved. But it is a major topic of discussion. Wilson met with Washington and new pitching coach Andy Hawkins before Monday's game with the Yankees to discuss his situation.
"We're trying to see what we can do to get him back on track," Washington said. "He's my closer. If I put somebody else out there, that doesn't mean he's not my closer." After the meeting, Wilson had his first throwing session with Hawkins in the bullpen while the Rangers took batting practice. "C.J. is working on some mechanics, that's all there is to it," Hawkins said after the session. "C.J. is the closer, that hasn't changed. We're going to work on a couple of things and get him back out there. He's got some mechanical issues to work out. But he's our closer and will be our closer." Wilson has a history of left elbow issues and missed all of 2004 because of Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery. It's unclear what physical issues are confronting him now, but it's clear that there is something that has to be dealt with. "My heart rate is good," Wilson said, jokingly. The arm is the bigger concern, and Wilson only spoke around that when talking with reporters before the game. "I don't like talking about my health issues in the media," Wilson said. "I'm going out there the best I can. Some of you have seen me at 100 percent, some of you have seen me at less than 100 percent. Use your deductive reasoning. Sometimes you have to do what's best for the team." The Rangers are still hoping that getting Wilson straightened out mechanically will get him back to peak effectiveness again. "If he wasn't healthy, we wouldn't send him out there," Hawkins said. "It's just normal stuff. This is his first year as a closer and it takes its toll. It's not easy. But if he's not healthy enough to pitch, we'd shut him down." This has been a rough homestand for Wilson, having blown two saves in three relief appearances. The Rangers rallied to win both games, but Wilson is also 2-0 with a 9.35 ERA in his past 10 appearances, having allowed 15 hits and seven walks in his past 8 2/3 innings. "I'm doing the best I can," Wilson said. "I'm taking some lumps, but I was told I was going to take some lumps. I was told that I would be allowed to take some lumps. Obviously, I'm mentally resilient. It's a humbling experience competing against the best players in the game. If you're not on top of your game, you're going to take your lumps."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.