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Virgen: C.J. Wilson ready, excited for new season

March 29, 2013|By Steve Virgen
(Michael Buckner…)

Before C.J. Wilson turned 13 he made a serious decision about his lifestyle.

Wilson believed alcohol or drugs could keep him from his dreams. Growing up in Orange County, he was introduced to the Straight Edge crowd. He decided to be one of them and refrain from booze and drugs. Baseball kept him out of trouble in Huntington Beach and the Straight Edge way kept him on his path to big-league dreams.

"I made a decision that I never wanted to drink or do drugs because I've seen some bad stuff growing up," said Wilson, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 32-year-old pitcher who played for Edison High before transferring to Fountain Valley. "There were kids in my neighborhood, and older kids, and people in my family that had problems with drugs and alcohol.

"I wanted to be a Major League player at a very young age and I knew if I was a drinker or did drugs that wasn't going to get me there. I had to work really hard. I always honored the process in that sense. I never drank or did anything like that because I felt it would be a hindrance to my career."

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It can be said, Wilson achieved his dreams. But there is certainly more to accomplish. Expectations are high once again for the Angels, and Wilson knows he must rebound from a rough close to 2012 to help his team reach them.

He was in L.A. Friday as a new "Mane Man," for Head & Shoulders For Men, which launched a charity/marketing campaign with Wilson as its main spokesperson.

Wilson wants to be a main man for the Angels. That's what he was paid to do when he signed a five-year, $77.5 million contract.

The lefty had a nice start, going 9-5 with a 2.43 earned-run average and a spot on the All-Star team in his first season with the Angels last year. But the second half of the season, he battled left-elbow problems and closed with a 4-5 record and a 5.54 ERA.

"Even though I made the All-Star team I wasn't satisfied with how [the season] started," Wilson said. "I always expect myself to do better. Once the second half started I had problems with my elbow, with bone spurs and I started to lose range of motion. I just wanted to go out there and pitch, but I knew I wasn't myself. I just kept going because that's what we're paid to do. But it didn't go well."

Wilson said he had surgery "to get everything cleaned out on Oct. 23."

"I feel really good," he said. "I'm excited. Any time you get a chance to get a fresh start it helps you out."

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