Yesterday Alex Wood pitched in a simulated game against several minor leaguers in Goodyear. The Cincinnati Reds acquired the lefty from the Dodgers in the big trade back in December, and was hoping to insert him into the rotation to help stabilize what’s been historically one of the worst rotations over a 3-year span in Major League Baseball history. Wood has posted a 3.29 ERA over the last three seasons, but he’s also only thrown 364.1 innings in that span. He’s had trouble staying on the mound at times – though he did pitch in 33 games last season, it was only for 151.2 innings.

As was written yesterday, while Alex Wood made it through the game just fine, with back issues, it’s more about the following 24 hours to see if it’s going to work out or not. And unfortunately for Alex Wood and the Cincinnati Reds, it didn’t. Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer just shared the news that his back tightened up on him.

“This plan”, as David Bell refers to it, was already one where it was going to be a close call as to whether or not the left-handed starter was going to make it in time for the first week of the season. With this set back it seems that it’s all but guaranteed that Alex Wood is not going to be able to start the season anywhere but the injured list.

What that does do is open up a spot in the rotation, at least early on in the year. Perhaps that means a spot for someone slated for a spot in the bullpen like Sal Romano or Michael Lorenzen to step in. Or maybe it means that a guy like Tyler Mahle is now at the front of the line for the final spot until Wood is ready to go at some point. Either way the Reds go, it looks like a spot on the pitching staff just opened itself up.

 

25 Responses

  1. Matt Hendley

    Mahle is first up IMO. Romano is getting destroyed this spring and I am not on the lorenzen starting train. I would like to see wood heal quickly though

    • Doug Gray

      Repeat it with me: Spring Training means nothing except getting through it healthy.

      • Kevin

        Agreed, but does this injury stuff concern you?

      • Matt Hendley

        Ok, let me rephrase. Romano is a out of shape, 2 pitch garbage pitcher, who at best belongs in the bullpen, and realistically belongs in AAA until he develops a 3rd pitch. Incidently he is also getting destroyed in ST for no apparent reason.

      • Doug Gray

        Sal Romano came into camp down like 20 pounds and looks like he’s in pretty good shape.

        And a lot of guys get destroyed in Arizona because breaking balls don’t break out there. Also, it’s March 9th. Also, spring stats don’t matter.

        Had you simply just left it with “Mahle’s the front runner”, cool. But to justify it with spring training stats or performance is off base.

      • TR

        Waiting for a statistical analysis to prove that ST means nothing, except health, in getting off to a fast seasonal start.

  2. Klugo

    I’d rather have an injured Alex Wood than a healthy Homer Bailey.

    • Matt Hendley

      Financially that does make sense, but i would want a healthy pitcher.

      • Klugo

        An injured Wood at least gives a “Young Gun” a chance. A healthy Bailey was old n in the way.

  3. Jared Mason

    What are we doing to these pitchers? Seems like every year the Reds go in to the start of the season with one or two of their top SPs on the injured list. And I’m not even going to mention Sonny Gray right now. These are the pitchers we assembled just to get back to having a respectable pitching staff again. Romano is getting destroyed so far. Mahle should have the inside track IMO. Folks we can’t afford to get off to another rotten start this season. If things don’t improve with their health could be another long year.

    • Doug Gray

      To answer your first question: We are allowing them to throw baseballs for a living. Eventually, if you do that, you’re going to get hurt.

  4. WVRedlegs

    Where are you Robert Stephenson? This is your shot, and nowhere to be found. Maybe very last shot.

    • Doug Gray

      Scheduled to pitch in the game tomorrow, according to the game notes.

      • Tommyknocker

        So unless the Reds bite the bullet and sign either Dallas Keuchel or Gio Gonzalez, they’ll go into the season without a single lefty in the starting rotation.

    • Indy Red Man

      Why? 20th times the charm might work in dating, but not in baseball. BobSteve has had more then enough chances.

  5. JB WV

    Kudos to the FO for getting 3 starters instead of 1-2. Pitching depth is so key. Wouldn’t surprise me if Mahle comes in and gets it done

    • Mason Red

      Depth means nothing if the majority of that depth is mediocre. If I’m wrong when the season starts…and I hope I am…I’ll be the first to eat crow. I’ve just haven’t seen anything so far this spring to indicate the pitching is going to be significantly better this season.

  6. scotly50

    Wood did come to this team with injury issues. I guess in all the excitement that was lost.

  7. RedFuture

    My best guess is that if they think Wood will miss more than 5 starts, it will be Mahle otherwise it will be Wisler.

    • Indy Red Man

      Give me Mahle or Lorenzen. Next would be Reed, Wisler, or Sims. Anyone but Romano and his impressive 4.31 minor league era. Let him get them out in the minors before he comes back to Cincy.

      Why not give Lorenzen the shot to do what Ohtani was doing? Start him or long relief for maybe 100 ip this year and give him plenty of atbats too. I would DH him in spring training along with some OF. Why not? What Reds hitter has better bat speed or overall athleticism?