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.
David Bell said Alex Wood’s back tightened up after throwing in a simulated game yesterday. “Maybe take a step back on his plan.” #Reds
— Bobby Nightengale (@nightengalejr) March 9, 2019
“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.