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Monday, July 28, 2014
Wada earns first career win -- at age 33

By Jesse Rogers

Tsuyoshi Wada
Lefty Tsuyoshi Wada went seven innings Monday, allowing one run on five hits with six strikeouts.

CHICAGO -- His age screams trade candidate, but his body of work is likely too small for the Chicago Cubs to move starter Tsuyoshi Wada by Thursday’s trade deadline. So the 33-year-old will have to settle for his first career win and move on from there.

“I’m just happy the Cubs used me again after that outing I had wasn’t very good,” the left-hander said through an interpreter Monday night after a 4-1 victory over the Colorado Rockies. “It was my second time pitching in Chicago. [I was] a little more relaxed.”

Last week, Wada got beaten up by the San Diego Padres after making a nice debut against the Cincinnati Reds. Everything looked better Monday, and the results showed.

“He had them taking some swings on some fastballs they seemed to be very late on,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. “So he was speeding them up and slowing them down pretty well.”

Wada lasted seven innings, giving up just one run on five hits. He walked his lone batter in his last inning. He was seemingly signed in the offseason for this exact role: to eat some innings after the predictable trades of Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel. Renteria didn’t want to talk big picture regarding Wada, just the here and now.

“I’m just really happy he’s here with us,” he said. “Whether he was 20 or 33, he did a nice job today.”

The Cubs will probably still need the Wadas of the world going into next season. Their starting staff -- like the team as a whole -- is in transition. Jake Arrieta is the only pitcher assured of anything right now. Ineffectiveness (Edwin Jackson and Travis Wood) along with youth (Kyle Hendricks and Dallas Beeler) have left things uncertain moving forward. Wada might or might not stick around, but the Cubs will undoubtedly need to find more innings as they search for a contending staff.

“He seemed to agree with how I wanted to pitch the guys,” catcher John Baker said of Wada. “He was very comfortable with the pitches that were called.”

It means Wada gets to start again -- and probably for the rest of the season, unless things go terribly wrong. After that, it’s anyone’s guess -- with him and with the Cubs' entire starting five.