Quiet Addition, Wood Hopes to Provide Help by Second Half of Season
During Spring Training the DTTWLN staff will profile and examine the coaches and players that make up and are vying to be part of the 2013 Cleveland Indians—A Team With A New Direction. Today, we examine one of the players on the 40-man roster that is on the mend this spring.
By Mike Brandyberry
The Indians made numerous moves this winter, acquiring several new pieces to the roster. However, one of the quietest moves the Tribe made may have been the acquisition of right-handed relief pitcher Blake Wood.
Wood was a member of the Kansas City Royals until the Cleveland Indians claimed him off waivers on November 2. He did not pitch in 2012 after arm problems shut him down at the beginning of the season, which eventually led Tommy John surgery in May. The operation ended his 2012 campaign before it began. After being classified a Super-2 salary arbitration eligible player, the Royals placed the injured reliever on waivers.
Cleveland claimed the hampered right-hander and settled on a one-year contract, valued at $560,000, and avoided arbitration. Prior to his arm injury, Wood was 5-3, with a 3.75 ERA in 69.2 innings and 55 appearances in 2011. Currently, he is eight months from his operation and will begin the 2013 season back on the disabled list. This spring he is progressing through a mound program and is hopeful to pitch in simulated games in extended Spring Training.
The Indians are hopeful Wood can find the command he had with Kansas City in 2011 and potentially be a second half help to the bullpen, if necessary. However, the Tribe’s bullpen is very full on the right side with Chris Perez, Vinnie Pestano, Joe Smith, Matt Albers, Cody Allen and Bryan Shaw all in front of him. With a minor league option remaining, Wood may have to battle Trey Haley, Preston Guilmet and Shawn Armstrong for a call to the big leagues.
Wood, and his progression back to the big leagues, is a work in progress. But in a spring with growing anticipation and expectations for the Indians, a team can never have too much pitching. For Cleveland, their player move last winter may be the quietest. Time will tell upon its importance.
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