Wilson unlikely to play Opening Day

San Francisco Giants closer Brian Wilson isn’t likely to be ready to play by opening day for the World Series champions.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Monday that Wilson’s chances of playing when the regular season begins are ”less than 50-50.” He said a final decision won’t be made until after Wilson throws a light bullpen session in Arizona on Tuesday.

”I’ll be honest. I think he’s less than 50-50,” Bochy said before the Giants opened their annual exhibition series against the Bay Area rival Oakland Athletics. ”But we’re not going to rule him out completely.”

Not yet, anyway.

Wilson strained a muscle on his left side on March 17 and also missed time early in spring training with back tightness. He led the majors with 48 saves last year and helped spark the Giants throughout their surprising postseason run – making a name for himself with his bushy, dyed-black beard and off-the-field antics.

Wilson was at his best in the biggest moments, too. He pitched a perfect ninth and stuck out Nelson Cruz for the final out in Game 5 of the World Series at Texas to clinch San Francisco’s first championship since moving West in 1958.

While the Giants play three exhibitions against Oakland this week, Wilson stayed back to rehab at team’s spring training headquarters in Scottsdale, Ariz., and could be placed on the disabled list if the injury keeps him out for an extended period. Left-handers Jeremy Affeldt and Javier Lopez or right-hander Sergio Romo could help fill the closer’s void.

The Giants open the regular season at the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday.

”I think we’d really be pushing it, so I’d say the chances are he will not start with us,” Bochy said. ”But we still want to give him the benefit of the doubt. We’ll wait till he throws.”