Meeting new people has never been a problem for Wilhelmsen, who worked as a bartender in Tucson, Ariz., for several years while he was out of baseball from 2006-09.
Wilhelmsen was an interesting story when he first made the Mariners this spring, having never pitched above Class A ball when he cracked the club's 25-man Opening Day roster.
But now he'd like to do more than he showed in his first stint with Seattle, when he posted a 5.59 ERA in eight appearances out of the bullpen before getting optioned to Jackson.
The right-hander will return to the 'pen after working as a starter in Double-A, according to manager Eric Wedge. He fills the opening on the 25-man roster created by Sunday's trade of Bedard.
Wedge said the next spot start might be Aug. 23, when the Mariners are scheduled for a doubleheader in Cleveland, so the plan is for Wilhelmsen to resume a reliever role for now.
"We have to be careful with his innings," Wedge said. "We had him start for a while. Now we'll go from here."
Wilhelmsen went 4-5 in Jackson with a 5.49 ERA in 14 games, including 12 starts. He said the experience was beneficial, particularly given his long absence from the game and relative inexperience above Class A.
"It went well," he said. "It gave me more opportunities to work on the pitches I needed to work on. Changeups, locating my fastball. I enjoyed it and it's still a work in progress, but much better now than when I left. I liked it."
But, no, he hadn't given up on his dream of returning to the Majors after his brief taste at the start of this season.
"Yeah, I was hoping," he said. "In the back of my mind it was always a thought. You've got to set your goals, you know?"