Travis Wood to start Cubs Spring Training Opener … Kyle Hendricks to follow Wood in Opener
Joe Maddon made it official after Saturday’s practice. Travis Wood will get the ball in the Cubs’ Cactus League Opener on March 3 in Maryvale against the Brewers.
Travis Wood threw live batting practice Saturday which put him in line to make the start in five days. Kyle Hendricks, Andury Acevedo, Pedro Strop, Edgar Olmos, Hector Rondon, Armando Rivero and Felix Pena also faced batters Saturday at the Cubs’ complex.
Maddon also announced Kyle Hendricks will follow Wood in Thursday’s opener versus the Brewers.
Travis Wood is one of several pitchers being stretched out this spring that will likely begin the year in the bullpen in a utility pitchers role.
With the Cubs backing off Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester and John Lackey early in Spring Training, Trevor Cahill, Clayton Richard and Adam Warren are also expected to start Cactus League games. While Wood, Cahill and Richard are expected to start the season in the bullpen, reports have indicated Warren could be in Maddon’ Opening Day rotation.
The Cubs are looking at Warren as a possibility for the fifth spot in the rotation. Reportedly there will be a competition for the fifth spot in Joe Maddon’s rotation between Hendricks and Warren.
Travis Wood began last season in Maddon’s rotation. But after a rough stretch in early May, Wood found a home in the bullpen. Wood was 5-4 last season with a 3.84 ERA, a.24 WHPI and 3.40 FIP. Wood allowed 48 runs, 43 earned, on 86 hits with 39 walks and 118 strikeouts in 100 2/3 innings.
As a reliever, Wood went 3-2 in 45 appearances with a 2.95 ERA and 1.20 WHIP. He allowed 22 runs, 19 earned, on 43 hits with 27 walks and 71 strikeouts in 58 innings.
Kyle Hendricks spent his first full season in the big leagues in Maddon’s rotation. Hendricks entered Spring Training as the fifth starter in the rotation. And most feel it’s really his job to lose.
Hendricks went 8-7 in 32 starts a year ago with a 3.95 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 3.36 FIP. Hendricks gave up 82 runs, 79 earned, on 166 hits with 43 walks and 167 strikeouts in 180 innings.
After the break, Hendricks was 4-3 with a 4.44 ERA and 1.21 WHIP. Hendricks found a mechanical flaw, with help from Chris Bosio, and thinks that issue is behind him.