Saturday, May 5, 2012
Travis Wood's chance to get back in rotation
By Bruce Levine
The illness that will cost Matt Garza his start on Sunday may give Chicago Cubs officials some pause as how to proceed next.
Travis Wood has been recalled from the minor leagues to start in Garza’s rotation slot, however trying to decide what to do with Saturday’s starter, Chris Volstad, may be a more important issue.
Volstad has not won a game in six starts this season and in 17 starts going back to July 17, 2011. Lack of support has been a problem for Volstad both with the Cubs and his previous team, the Marlins.
The question that the coaching staff must take to management is: Would moving Volstad to the bullpen for now make sense with Wood’s ascension back to the major leagues?
The bullpen needs to be fortified with another pitcher that manager Dale Sveum trusts more than Lendy Castillo, who pitched two shutout innings in relief of Volstad on Saturday. Castillo had not been used by the Cubs manager in 15 days, begging the question about Castillo’s future. The former Phillies farmhand was a Rule 5 draft pick in December, so in order to send him to the minors the team must first offer Castillo back Philadelphia, or make a deal with them to compensate for the rule.
After Saturday’s game Sveum said it was too early to consider demoting Volstad.
“I think it is way too early for that, Sveum said. “Somehow getting through those innings -- when people get on [he] has trouble getting out of that. With nobody on he has been pretty efficient.”
Wood, acquired from the Cincinnati Reds in a trade for Sean Marshall last winter, originally was brought in to be the fourth or fifth starter. A less-than-stellar spring stamped his ticket to Iowa to begin the season.
If Wood has a strong outing on Sunday, the team must somehow find a spot for him on the parent club. A 1-3 record in the minors can be overlooked by the Cubs, who need to strengthen both the starting rotation and bullpen.