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Brian Wilson May Never Pitch for the Giants Again

//yeti-cir-test.s3.amazonaws.com/uploaded/images/2010/10/brian-wilson-1/original/10-26 Brian Wilson.jpg

Getty Images/Ezra Shaw
Getty Images/Ezra Shaw

Unlike his masked, leather-clad alter-ego, Brian Wilson is not a "Machine."

In fact, the eccentric closer, who is probably facing season-ending surgery, said Sunday he has been dealing with elbow problems since 2010.

Pitching through pain that year, Wilson tied the team record with 48 saves and didn't allow an earned run in 10 post-season appearances, including getting the final out that clinched San Francisco's first World Series championship.

But, while his legend and facial hair grew, "Fear the Beard" quietly struggled with an aching arm. Now Wilson is likely headed for Tommy John surgery that will keep him out of action until next spring.

While the ever-stoic 30-year-old reliever called the ulnar ligament replacement operation which he had once before in 2003, "a mild bump in the road and a chance to get a better arm to throw even harder," there are no such guarantees.

There are also no guarantees that Brian ever pitches again for the Giants.

In the final year of a contract that pays him $8.5 million this season, Wilson is eligible for salary arbitration next winter and becomes a free agent following the 2013 season.

Considering SF's talented array of relievers and minor league sensation, 23-year-old flamethrower Heath Hembree waiting in the wings, Wilson faces a very uncertain future.

Brian's saga is eerily similar to another former Giant, All Star closer Robb Nen. Tagged for the loss in the pivotal 6th game of the 2002 World Series while pitching with a torn rotator cuff, Nenvehemently denied his arm was hurting.

Midway through a four year, $32.5 million contract, Nen never pitched again. In honor of his team-first sacrifice, the Giants hung Robb's jersey in his empty locker for the next two seasons.

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