Coming off a season in which their starting rotation was thrown for a spin with Brandon McCarthy only making four starts before undergoing Tommy John surgery, and Hyun-Jin Ryu never stepping foot on a mound, the Los Angeles Dodgers figured to address their pitching depth over the winter.
They first suffered a big loss as Zack Greinke left for the Arizona Diamondbacks on a six-year, $206.5 million contract, then had an agreement with Hisahi Iwakuma come undone due to a failed physical.
Los Angeles eventually rebounded by signing veteran lefty Scott Kazmir and Japanese native Kenta Maeda. The Dodgers also re-signed Brett Anderson and Brandon Beachy, plus had those who gained experience by fire in 2015, returning.
Alex Wood was part of that group, but was often speculated as being the primary candidate to be sent to the bullpen as the club’s sixth starter.
Anderson’s back surgery quickly elevated Wood’s status in Spring Training. The left-hander was scheduled to make his second Cactus League start on Saturday, but was scratched due to left forearm tightness, per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
Alex Wood scratched with left forearm tightness, Carlos Frias starting tonight.
— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) March 12, 2016
While the news is disconcerting, Wood doesn’t believe the situation to be serious, according to Bill Plunkett of the OC Register:
Wood said #Dodgers are being "overly cautious" and he understands. Plans to throw bullpen on Tues, make next start on sked Thursday
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) March 12, 2016
With the Dodgers playing split-squad games on Saturday, Brandon Beachy takes the hill at Camelback Ranch to face the Chicago Cubs, and Carlos Frias starts in a road game against the Seattle Mariners. Beachy was originally scheduled to face the Mariners.
Frias has allowed one run and has two strikeouts in four innings over two relief appearances this spring. Wood allowed five runs (two earned) on four hits in two innings against the Cleveland Indians in his debut.
Having overcome a nagging bone bruise on his ankle, Wood was confident he’d be part of the Dodgers’ rotation even if the entire staff was healthy. In 12 starts with Los Angeles last season, Wood was 5-6 with a 4.35 ERA, 4.10 FIP, 1.27 WHIP and averaged 6.3 strikeouts per nine innings.