MIAMI -- It's high-profile. It's do-or-lose. It's the only position in baseball where you can officially "blow" a game. Who, then, would want the job as not only a relief pitcher but as a game-on-the-line closer? For two, Giants rookie pitchers Jeremy Accardo and Brian Wilson. Manager Felipe Alou named the pair as possible game finishers due to fabulous stuff, great arms and mind-sets that won't be fazed when times are tense, and both 24-year-old hurlers agreed they'd love to eventually fill that role for San Francisco.More
Right-hander Wilson, who has a dragon tattooed on his left arm "protecting" a home, can tattoo opposing hitters with a fire-breathing slider and sinker, while Accardo boasts a splitter than can splinter bats and psyches. "When I ask questions of pitchers to learn about situations at certain times of the game, I ask about that," said Accardo of closing. "That's that I did when I first started, that's what I've done my whole career." Coincidentally, his biggest source of info is Giants closer Armando Benitez, whom he pesters constantly. Then again, Benitez sometimes offers suggestions on his own. "Growing up, he was my favorite player to watch," said Accardo. "I ask him questions ... Rags [pitching coach Dave Righetti] and Gardy [bullpen coach Mark Gardner] or [Tim] Worrell -- I ask everybody questions just in case situations come up. "It's almost more fun to pitch when it's do-or-die. The hitters have a different approach, and you can go right after them, and they might be hesitant with a pitch. I feel like that's what I want to do." Accardo, 0-0 with a 3.57 ERA this season in 14 appearances, has limited opponents to a .235 average. He felt he learned a lot last season when he struggled in late innings against Washington and Los Angeles, blowing opportunities to preserve leads. "I don't know if I was ready for that," he said of those early games. "I should have done better than what I did. You learn your lessons and I learned from them." No nerves for Wilson: Wilson laughed when recalling a time competing for Louisiana State when he entered a game with none out and the bases loaded. "First time I pitched in college, they asked me as the new guy to get them out of the game," said Wilson. "I didn't throw a fastball above 85 mph because I was that nervous. They didn't let me pitch for a month after that. "I told myself if that's the way you pitch when you're nervous, then I don't want to do that ever again -- just go out there with an I-don't-care mode. If they hit me, fine, but I'll come after them. I was like so amped up and so tense about throwing a strike, I was trying to baby it in there." Wilson, who has yet to give up an earned run in five Major League innings, said he'd certainly heed the call if the Giants gave him a shot at the closer role. "As long as I'm competing and helping the team win, I'll do what I do in any role," he said. "No pressure, no nerves." Alou not ready: Outfielder Moises Alou, on the disabled list with a severe ankle sprain, replied "probably not" when asked if he'd play during the Giants' six-game road swing to Miami and New York. Trainer Stan Conte concurred. "It's not impossible but not probable," said Conte. "If you go back to Mo's calf, the predictions have always been he's close but he tells us when it happens. It's still at the 80-85 percent level. He did well this weekend, but his ankle is still swollen. "I'm concerned about the outfield play -- for him to go out there a day too soon wouldn't be a smart thing to do. We'll keep pushing. We're talking [being on the DL] four weeks on Friday, and this is a legitimate six-week injury -- that's how bad it was." Coming up: Left-hander Noah Lowry (1-2, 3.62 ERA) will make his sixth start of the season Tuesday when he faces the Florida Marlins in a 4:05 p.m. PT start at Dolphin Stadium. He'll oppose right-hander Brian Moehler (2-4, 6.80 ERA).
Rich Draper is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less