By Aaron Cheris
Thursday, July 7 was shaping up to be another ordinary game day for Pawtucket Red Sox starting pitcher Aaron Wilkerson.
The 27-year-old Texan was getting ready to start for the PawSox in Durham, N.C., when he got news that would change the course of his career.
“I was getting stretched out, getting ready to start the game,” Wilkerson said. “Halfway through my stretch, the manager came out, called me to his office, and told me I had been traded.”
Wilkerson, along with Single-A infielder Wendell Rijo, were going from the Red Sox to the Brewers in exchange for veteran infielder Aaron Hill.
“It was a quick change of mindset. I was getting prepared mentally for the game,” he said. “Then for them to call me in for that to happen, it was kind of crazy. It was a barrage of emotions going through my head.”
Just like that, Wilkerson’s time with the organization that purchased his contract from an independent league team in July 2014 was over.
“It’s bittersweet. I have good friendships there with the PawSox and the staff,” he said. “It’s been a whirlwind, it’s been hectic, but I’m looking forward to starting here.”
Wilkerson said he was excited when he found out he would be joining the Sky Sox, as he had never been to Colorado prior to the trade.
But once he arrived at Security Service Field, it was time to get to work and meet his new teammates.
“Meeting the guys has been fun and interesting,” he said. “Playing catch, getting used to a different environment is exciting.”
Wilkerson said he didn’t really know anybody on the team prior to the trade, but having a lot of fellow Texans on the team is a positive.
But once on the mound, Wilkerson knows what he needs to do to be successful, no matter what team he is on.
“I’m used to going seven or eight innings, 100 or so pitches,” he said. “I think as long as I go out and do my job and limit my pitch count, I’ll be alright.”
Wilkerson’s repertoire on pitches includes a fastball, and a slew of off-speed pitches that play off his fastball. Wilkerson’s slider, changeup, and curveball keep hitters off balance while feeding off his strong fastball command.
In his first Sky Sox appearance, Wilkerson pitched four scoreless innings against the Iowa Cubs on Sunday afternoon in a game the Sky Sox would win 7-4.
In the fourth inning, the I-Cubs loaded the bases off Wilkerson with no outs, but the newest Sky Sox didn’t surrender a run, as he retired the next three batters in order to get through the inning unharmed.
After spending the All-Star break with family, Wilkerson is looking forward to getting back on the mound and doing what it takes to reach his ultimate goal of pitching in the Major Leagues.
“Getting traded out to Milwaukee is a great opportunity for me to keep going and keep showing what I can do,” he said. “This is a new chapter of my life, of my career. I’m going to come out and do my best to please everyone and continue to move up.”
After the All-Star break, the Sky Sox will be on the road for eight games before returning to Security Service Field on July 22.