Wilson to return as backup shortstop, mentor
Veteran to help prospect Pastornicky adjust to life in Majors
ATLANTA -- Jack Wilson will return to the Braves to serve as a backup infielder, providing valuable insurance as shortstop Tyler Pastornicky introduces himself to the Major League level.
The Braves announced on Friday that they have agreed to terms on a one-year, $1 million deal with Wilson. The 34-year-old veteran fills the club's need for an infielder who will serve as both a backup and a mentor to Pastornicky.
Wilson invited Pastornicky to spend some time working out with him this winter, and the young shortstop graciously accepted. The two are currently working together in California.
Wilson gained some familiarity with the Braves after the club acquired him from the Mariners on Aug. 31. He spent the final month of the season primarily serving as Alex Gonzalez's backup. But Wilson started five of the team's final six games while Gonzalez was dealing with a right calf injury.
Once it was apparent Gonzalez would exit via free agency, Atlanta began projecting Pastornicky to begin this season as its starting shortstop. He received his first call to the Majors on the last day of the season, after Gonzalez had aggravated the calf ailment.
Wilson no longer possesses the tremendous range that he had when he was considered one of the game's more exciting shortstops. But he's regarded as a sound defensive option who can provide value in a backup role.
Wilson has batted .266 in an 11-year career that began in 2001 with the Pirates. He combined to bat .243 with a .274 on-base percentage and .285 slugging percentage in 79 games with the Mariners and Braves last year.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.