Travis Wood 'ready now' after best showing

March, 16, 2014
Mar 16
6:23
PM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
MESA, Ariz. -- Chicago Cubs pitcher Travis Wood had his best outing of the spring in the Cubs' 3-2 loss to the Cleveland Indians Sunday.

The good: Wood gave up two runs in the first inning, but only after outfielder Brett Jackson botched a fly ball in right field. What followed was four solid innings, including a stretch of 11 retired in a row by the lefty. Wood struck out eight while walking none, afterward declaring himself “ready now” for the regular season. He was so efficient he finished up his day throwing in the bullpen after his five innings were complete.

Luis Valbuena had two doubles, one to right center, then left center, as he’s begun to heat up.

James Russell pitched a solid inning of relief.

The bad: The Cubs' offense against opposing major league starting pitchers continues to struggle. Justin Masterson of the Indians gave up just two hits and struck out eight in five shutout innings.

The OK: Pitcher Hector Rondon gave up a home run to Carlos Santana, raising his spring ERA to 11.81.

Arodys Vizcaino threw hard but wasn’t fooling anyone as he walked one and gave up some hard-hit balls, including a couple of hits. But he didn’t give up a run due to a baserunning error.

Jackson’s run: Jackson helped win a game Saturday with five RBIs, then doubled in his first at-bat Sunday. But two strikeouts after that and a double-play ball in the ninth inning slowed him down. He’s hitting .235 this spring.

“I’m definitely comfortable at the plate right now,” he said before the game. “I’ll do whatever the team wants me to do to win. The ultimate goal is to win. How can I be a part of that? I’m happy to play any role that needs to be played.”

He’s not a favorite to win a roster spot when the team breaks camp, but playing all three outfield spots will help his cause. He has mostly played center field but feels comfortable in left or right. He misplayed a ball in right Sunday.

“I’ve played a good amount of both,” he said. “I’m comfortable playing all three. Outfield is outfield for me.”

What’s next: The split-squad games continue with two more Monday. The roster that played in Las Vegas this weekend against the New York Mets will return as the Cubs take on the Los Angeles Angels and Oakland Athletics in matinees. Edwin Jackson is scheduled to start at home against the Angels, while James McDonald starts in Phoenix against the A’s.

Jesse Rogers | email

Chicago Cubs beat reporter
Jesse joined ESPN Chicago in September 2009 and covers the Chicago Cubs for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN Radio 1000.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Anthony Rizzo
BA HR RBI R
.285 25 59 71
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Rizzo 25
RBIA. Rizzo 59
RA. Rizzo 71
OPSA. Rizzo .907
WJ. Hammel 8
ERAJ. Samardzija 2.83
SOT. Wood 108