The Los Angeles Dodgers made several additions to their pitching staff during the offseason, one of which was reuniting with Alex Wood, whom they traded to the Cincinnati Reds the previous winter.
The left-hander struggled in his lone season with the Reds, making just seven starts all year due to a back injury that sidelined him for a lengthy period of time. The disappointing campaign prompted Wood to sign a one-year, prove-it type contract with the Dodgers in hopes of re-establishing his value ahead of becoming a free agent again at the end of the 2020 season.
However, that wasn’t the case, as Wood missed all of August while recovering from shoulder inflammation. Upon being activated off the 10-day injured list, he contributed out of the bullpen instead of being placed back in the starting rotation.
“I’m not frustrated in any sense of the word,” Wood recently said of his 2020 season. “To be honest, what I went through last year and the horrible timing of having shoulder stuff crop up, I feel healthy right now. I think I’ll be able to show plenty out of the ‘pen down the stretch.
“People know what I can do when I’m healthy. I think I’ll easily show that down the stretch. From the bottom of my heart, I came back here to win a World Series. That’s why I came here.
“There’s plenty of other places I could’ve gone that were safer choices for me as far as my personal future and being able to stick in the rotation. I’ve invested a lot to the city of L.A., to this organization, I love this organization as much as you could.
“I’m super excited to feel good and be able to contribute whatever way I can and hopefully get across the finish line so we can hoist the trophy up at the end of all this.”
Wood went on to appear in eight games during September, making one start as an opener. He allowed eight runs (six earned) on 14 hits over 9.2 innings. Wood was not on the active roster for the Wild Card Series but was part of the taxi squad.
Wood embraced new role in Dodgers bullpen
Though Wood has long made clear his preference — and expectation upon signing with the Dodgers — was to start, he willingly moved to the bullpen for the betterment of the team.
“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.”
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