Spring Training Preview: Alex Wood Returns From Forearm Tightness
Dodgers News: Alex Wood Intends To Be Part Of Starting Rotation
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers see the return of three players as they host the reigning World Series champion Kansas City Royals at Camelback Ranch on Thursday. Alex Wood, skipped over in his previously scheduled start, takes the mound after a minor bout with left forearm tightness.

Wood downplayed the issue at the time, successfully threw a bullpen session earlier in the week, and is expected to throw four innings or 60 pitches against the Royals. The outing is Wood’s second of the spring.

He allowed five runs (two earned) on four hits over two innings against the Cleveland Indians on March 7 in a game that was also played at Camelback Ranch.

Wood’s ability to overcome the forearm tightness is key for a starting rotation that’s been hit with multiple injuries. 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.

The 25-year-old southpaw has only faced the Royals once in his career — a relief appearance in 2013. Wood allowed one run in one-third of an inning. J.P. Howell, Chris Hatcher, Ross Stripling, Pedro Baez and Kenley Jansen are expected to pitch out of the bullpen.

The Royals counter by sending Kris Medlen to the mound for his third Spring Training start this year. Medlen enters 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA and 1.40 WHIP. He threw two scoreless innings against the Chicago Cubs on March 7, then allowed three runs on six hits, including one home run, over three innings of work against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Medlen has five strikeouts in five innings. For his career, the right-hander is 3-0 with a 1.23 ERA and 0.89 WHIP in eight regular-season games (three starts) against the Dodgers.

After missing a small stretch of games due to back soreness, Carl Crawford returns to the Dodgers lineup as the starting left fielder and bats lead off. Additionally, Alex Guerrero (knee soreness) makes his first start at third base since March 3. The Cuban native pinch-hit on Sunday and was the designated hitter on Monday.

Kansas City’s lineup features Alex Gordon, Raul Mondesi and Kendrys Morales, but is otherwise without several recognizable names. Former Dodgers catcher Drew Butera is behind the plate and batting sixth.

Dodgers lineup:

LF: Carl Crawford
SS: Kiké Hernandez
DH: Joc Pederson
1B: Scott Van Slyke
3B: Alex Guerrero
2B: Austin Barnes
C: A.J. Ellis
CF: Trayce Thompson
RF: Corey Brown

Royals lineup:

SS: Raul Mondesi
LF: Alex Gordon
1B: Kendrys Morales
RF: Jorge Bonifacio
DH: Cody Decker
C: Drew Butera
CF: Bubba Starling
3B: Angel Franco
2B: Humberto Arteaga