- Doug Padilla, Chicago White Sox beat reporter
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CHICAGO -- Thanks for the solid effort Travis Wood, now sit back and await your fate.
Despite Wood’s solid debut in the Cubs’ rotation Sunday, he might be sent back where he came from. Promoted immediately before Sunday’s game, he could find himself on the way back to Triple-A Iowa today.
What the left-hander did in the interim was show that his spring-training troubles are behind him.
Wood went six innings for the Cubs in place of a sick Matt Garza and gave up just three runs on three hits. After giving up a two-run home run to the Dodgers’ Juan Rivera in the third inning, he closed out his outing by retiring 11 consecutive batters.
“It felt good,” Wood said. “Pitches were working. I had some unfortunate walks that I don’t like and left a pitch up that Rivera ended up hitting out of the park but I kept them close, we battled back and ended up winning the game.”
With Garza rejoining the rotation Friday and Wood now unable to pitch in any capacity for about four days, the Cubs are expected add a piece to the roster they can use now. The Cubs figure to be looking for a middle infielder like Adrian Cardenas, who is currently on the 40-man roster and hitting well at Iowa.
Wood never got on track during spring training and was the first of the starting rotation candidates to fall out of contention for a big league job. He started the season at Triple-A Iowa and despite just one victory in five starts and a 5.08 ERA, he showed an impressive strikeout-to-walk ratio of (30-8) in 28 1/3 innings.
In the spring he almost looked to be uncomfortable in his new surroundings and easily rattled at times. But not even Rivera’s home run could rattle him on Sunday.
“He just had a little bit better command,” manager Dale Sveum said of Wood’s turnaround after the Rivera long ball. “He was getting ahead easier after that. I just think he settled into the game and it might have relaxed him a little bit. They had three runs but he threw the heck out of the ball after that and got some pretty weak contact.”
Despite Chris Volstad’s struggles in the rotation, Wood could still find himself going back down. Yet even though he could find himself in the same position of having to work his way back to the major leagues, he can use Sunday’s outing as inspiration to return.
“I felt good and pitches started working later in the outing,” Wood said. “I got some quick outs on ground balls and kept us close. I didn’t feel I was nervous or anything but odds are I probably was without knowing it. I was able to get those quick outs and we came back and won.”