Wilk's first start extra special for mom

Wilk's first start extra special for mom

CHICAGO -- Adam Wilk's mom has never seen her son pitch in a professional game in person, either in the Major Leagues or the Minors. He was hoping she'd get a chance to see him open the season with the Tigers. He didn't get that, but he couldn't have planned out his first big league start much better.

When Wilk takes the mound at U.S. Cellular Field on Saturday afternoon, Deborah Wilk will be in the stands watching. A high school teacher in Southern California, she'll be able to fly in to see her son realize another big league dream.

"She's actually seen me in L.A. and Anaheim in uniform [in the Tigers' bullpen last summer]," he said, "but I've never pitched there, so this is actually the first time she's seen me pitch professionally."

Deborah Wilk's work includes teaching freshmen in the summer. So while Adam was working his way through the Tigers' farm system, she wasn't able to make the trip east to watch. So she would follow her son and call, or eventually text, him after games.

"She used to always call me and I'd never call back," Adam admitted. "I can't sit like this [with the phone to his ear] for hours, because moms always want to talk forever. So she learned to text a lot better. She'll text me and I'll respond that way. Sometimes if I have a bad outing, her responses are just -- you'll read them and you're like, 'Thanks, mom. That's not what I wanted to see there.'"

The Tigers will officially recall Wilk from Triple-A Toledo on Saturday. To make room on the 25-man roster, Detroit optioned right-handed reliever Brayan Villarreal to Toledo after Friday's loss. Villarreal pitched 1 1/3 innings over three appearances, allowing one hit and recording one strikeout.