Travis Wood relaxes, results follow

March, 24, 2012
3/24/12
5:58
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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MESA, Ariz. – It’s not time to put Travis Wood back in the starting rotation mix although his outing Saturday was an improvement.

Wood showed he still has plenty to work on, allowing five hits while hitting two batters in 3 2/3 innings, but of the three runs he allowed, only one scored while he was on the mound. Reliever Trever Miller allowed two inherited runners to score with two outs.

“I was able to slow down today and pitches were working good,” Wood said. “I had some good defensive plays behind me and overall I just felt good.”

By far the biggest disappointment of all the starting rotation candidates when the spring began, Saturday’s run total was still less than in three of Wood’s previous four outings. He entered Saturday’s start having allowed a combined 13 runs to score (12 earned) over his last 2 1/3 innings.

But the Cubs aren’t ditching the idea of Wood ever returning into an effective starter again. Since he is likely to open the season in the Triple-A Iowa rotation, Wood still needs to build up his innings.

So while Chris Volstad got in his work during a minor-league game, Wood was in the regular Cactus League game -- presumably to allow the coaching staff a better opportunity to gauge his progress. Although no pitching line was available, Volstad went six innings for Single-A Daytona, throwing 65 pitches in the game and 20 more on the side.

While Wood allowed a base runner in every inning, the San Diego Padres didn’t score until his final inning of work.

“We have to get him through some clean innings to get him some confidence back,” manager Dale Sveum said. “Once again, he threw a hell of a bullpen (between outings). He threw a great pen, threw all his pitches well so it’s getting between the lines and having some clean innings to get him some confidence.”

Doug Padilla

Chicago White Sox beat reporter
Doug joined ESPN Chicago in July 2010 and covers the Chicago White Sox for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN Radio 1000.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Jake Arrieta
WINS ERA SO IP
10 2.53 167 156
OTHER LEADERS
BAS. Castro .292
HRA. Rizzo 32
RBIA. Rizzo 78
RA. Rizzo 89
OPSA. Rizzo .913
ERAT. Wood 5.03
SOJ. Arrieta 167