Alex Wood, who was acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers back in December, faced live hitters on Friday afternoon in spring training. While the Cincinnati Reds played a game on the road against Kansas City, the left-handed Wood was back in Goodyear facing minor league hitters in a simulated start. Mark Sheldon of Reds.com noted that he threw 36 pitches on the day over two innings where he faced four batters in each inning. When manager David Bell was asked if Wood would be ready to begin the season, here’s what he had to say:
“I wouldn’t want to say that yet, but I wouldn’t want to not say it either,” Bell said. “I think it’s still possible. It’s kind of one step at a time. There’s still time to get it done. Again, we’re not super concerned with getting him by Opening Day. I think within the first week to 10 days, that’s probably a realistic target. At the same time, I’m not ready to say he’s not going to be ready day one, two, three, four or five. It could happen.”
How Alex Wood feels on Saturday could be a big deal in terms of the timeline. He hasn’t pitched in a game since late February due to a sore back. While he made it through his simulated game today, it’s usually the next day that you really know how things went when it comes to an injury like that. It may also open up a spot, at least for the first time through the rotation, if he’s not quite ready to begin the season.
Health hasn’t been the best thing for the Cincinnati Reds this spring. Sonny Gray and Alex Wood have both been dealing with issues thus far. Gray is scheduled to make his first start of the spring on Saturday night against the Padres. He’s been dealing with stiffness in his pitching elbow. Among candidates in the bullpen both Robert Stephenson and Matt Bowman have yet to pitch in games due to shoulder and lat injuries. David Hernandez has also been dealing with shoulder soreness and hasn’t pitched yet. The three relievers, though, are all listed as scheduled to pitch on Sunday according to the Reds game notes for Friday.