Dodgers sign Wilkerson to minor-league contract

Pitching for the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, Aaron Wilkerson follows through on a pitch during a 2016 game against the Nashville Sounds at what is now called First Horizon Park.

Aaron Wilkerson, one of two Cumberland University baseball players to play in the major leagues, has received another chance at Organized Baseball when the Los Angeles Dodgers signed the right-handed pitcher to a minor-league contract last week.

Wilkerson, who pitched the then-Bulldogs to the 2010 NAIA national championship and was a two-time All-America while on Cumberland Square, last pitched in 2019 in the Milwaukee Brewers organization.

After the 2020 season was canceled due to the pandemic, he became a free agent and signed with the Rakuten Monkeys of the Chinese Professional Baseball League, but elected not to play in the Far East due to family concerns.

The Dodgers signed him last Saturday and placed him on the Tulsa Drillers in the Double-A Central, formerly known as the Texas League.

He could end up down Interstate 44 with the Oklahoma City Dodgers in what is now known as Triple-A West after Major League Baseball took over the minor leagues and ended the longtime minor leagues in a complete restructuring of the game’s farm system.

After going 26-1 and setting NAIA records with 54 straight scoreless innings and 26 straight victories, Wilkerson’s pro career was derailed by an elbow injury which required Tommy John surgery.

He played in three different independent leagues before the Boston Red Sox signed him in 2014.

Moving up the Red Sox chain, he appeared on the verge of reaching Boston before the Red Sox traded him to the Brewers in 2017.

He made his MLB debut with Milwaukee late that season and was up and down in ’18 and ’19.

He is 1-1 with a 6.88 earned-run average in 14 major league games.

In six minor-league seasons, he’s 47-24 with a 3.11 ERA in 121 games.

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