Wilson disappointed by tough end of year

Wilson disappointed by tough end of year

SEATTLE -- The season isn't ending quite the way veteran shortstop Jack Wilson envisioned.

"It has been a very tough year mentally and physically and I'm glad to have it be over," he said on Wednesday. "Now I can go into the offseason and try to forget that things went the way they did."

After playing his entire big league career with the Pirates, and finishing each of those seasons with a losing record, Wilson was excited about the midseason trade to the Mariners.

He was going to make routine plays consistently, and throw in a few dazzling plays as well -- the kind that made him a regular on television highlight shows.

But the strained left hamstring he suffered when going into the hole to make a diving stop and ensuing off-balance throw to first base never completely healed. And then, while trying to beat out a bunt against the White Sox on Sept. 15, Wilson's right heel hit the ground first and then the base, bruising the heel.

He hasn't played since, and manager Don Wakamatsu said Wilson would not play the remainder of the season.

A .269 hitter in 4,039 career at-bats with the Pirates at the start of the season, Wilson batted .224 in 31 games and 107 at-bats for Seattle. After making seven errors in 354 total chances with Pittsburgh this year, Wilson committed five errors in 127 total chances with Seattle.

"You never got to see the real guy," said Bill Hall, the former Brewer who saw Wilson at his best.

"I am a pretty positive guy and I knew that switching leagues after being in one league for nine years was going to be a tough adjustment," Wilson said. "I knew that going in, especially facing pitchers I had never faced.

"But I didn't realize how much I leaned on my experience and knowing the National League hitters so well and where to play them. Coming over here and playing defense against guys I had never seen hit was tougher than I expected.

"I wanted to come here and make a good first impression. None of it worked out."

Wilson will remain with the Mariners through Sunday, then pack up and return to his offseason home in Thousand Oaks, Calif.

"I'll go back to being a dad, a husband and dive into that," he smiled. "It's another season in itself."

He said the heel injury should be completely healed in a week or two and he can begin looking ahead to next season, but he's not sure where he'll be playing.

The Mariners have the option of picking up the final year of his contract for $8.4 million or pay a $600,000 buyout.

"The option is pretty large and I don't know what they are going to do," he said. "But I'm not going to think too much about it. I'll let that thing sort itself out. That's why we have agents."

Wilson said he would move forward, regardless.

"I've never been a free agent before," he said. "That would be interesting. We'll see what happens, but I would like to come back to Seattle. That would be my first choice."

Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.