Alex Wood Embracing New Role In Dodgers Bullpen
Alex Wood
Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports

When the Los Angeles Dodgers reported for Spring Training back in February, their starting rotation had an opening behind Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, David Price and Julio Urias. Alex Wood was among those in the thick of the conversation.

Though, Wood maintained all along he was going to be part of the Opening Day rotation. He said re-signing with the Dodgers during the offseason would not have transpired if it wasn’t to reunite with the team as a starter.

Shortly after, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts announced Wood earned the final spot in the rotation. For a variety of reasons, primarily a global pandemic, Wood’s time in the rotation lasted all of one start.

He was placed on the 10-day injured list after his 2020 debut and just returned Tuesday. However, Wood was activated with an understanding he’s now part of the Dodgers bullpen.

“When I came back to the Dodgers, I knew there were risks,” he said. “With the pandemic presenting itself and getting banged up early and missing four weeks, the situation I came back to is not the same that I left. That’s OK. I knew that even during a regular season that had a chance to happen. That I could end up in the ‘pen potentially.

“I’m good with whatever they need me to do. I feel good, my stuff feels good right now, so I’m excited. I’m just ready to contribute with whatever they need me to do. I’m just glad to be healthy and throwing the ball well.”

Other than when he was acquired from the Atlanta Braves in 2015, Wood spent at least some portion of the year in the bullpen in each of his seasons with the Dodgers. Although the left-hander has accepted the change once again, being part of a rotation remains on his mind.

“I feel like I’m a good, quality starter,” he said. “I feel like I’ve got a lot of innings left in the starter role but I came back to the Los Angeles Dodgers to win a World Series. To be back out there, feel healthy and feel good after what I’ve been through the last year, I’m excited and I’m excited about the stretch run to get to the postseason.”

Taylor sees different Dodgers bullpen

Chris Taylor is in his fifth season with the Dodgers, but he sees this year’s crop of relief pitchers as being the best during his tenure.

“I think our offense is really clicking,” he said. “Obviously what we did last month, and then starting pitching has been outstanding, and the bullpen has probably been the biggest difference,” he said.

“I think that sets us apart from previous years. They’ve been lights out and I think that’s going to be huge for us come October. It’s definitely a huge advantage and comfortable feeling knowing when you get a lead you can turn to those guys and they can shut the door.”

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