Wilson happy to make Grapefruit debut

Wilson happy to make Grapefruit debut

Wilson happy to make Grapefruit debut
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Jack Wilson went hitless on Tuesday, but that did not mean much to the veteran infielder.

For Wilson, it was just a big step to be able to play in a Grapefruit League game. The 34-year-old had been out all spring with a calf injury before he started at second base against the Mets at Digital Domain Park.

"It's feeling good," Wilson said. "Any time you can get out there healthy and ready to play is good. I've been sitting on the training room table for the last five weeks or so just champing at the bit. You don't really feel part of the team, so it's nice to get back out here and get time on the field to get ready for the season."

Wilson has played the last few days in Minor League games but had not played with his big league teammates until Tuesday's game. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez is happy to have Wilson back in action.

"He's been great," Gonzalez said. "He's been bouncing around and running the bases. I think he played seven innings yesterday. We'll try to get him six or seven innings at second and keep progressing."

An All-Star in 2004, Wilson has been known throughout his 11-year career as an excellent defender. He is expected to see time at second base, shortstop and third base.

"He still has a lot left in the tank, especially defensively," Gonzalez said. "I don't think he's a guy that is a part-time player. I think he can play every day in the big leagues."

The Braves expect to have rookies Tyler Pastornicky or Andrelton Simmons as their starting shortstop, but Wilson gives them a veteran option that Gonzalez values.

"We're lucky to have him," Gonzalez said. "He could have probably signed somewhere to have an everyday shortstop job. We feel that of the 30 games or so that we had with him here that he could back up the position at the very least. It was a great signing to have him come back."