PEORIA, Ariz. -- With the competition for the fifth spot in the Cubs' rotation one of the focal points of the last two weeks of Spring Training, left-hander Travis Wood needed an eye-opening third start to distinguish himself. At the very least, he needed a solid outing.
Wood got neither. He entered Monday's game against the Mariners with a 20.25 Cactus League ERA and left after two-plus innings with it rising to 25.07. He gave up seven runs on seven hits and two walks. He allowed three homers, including back-back shots in the third. He left the ballpark soon after without talking to the press.
"It looked like it was coming out of his hand better," manager Dale Sveum said. "But still, it's not the full package, to be able to get through big league hitters using the changeup and throwing it for strikes and a breaking ball. I still don't think his cutter is where it needs to be and where I've seen it before. But I thought the life was there on some pitches. Just another unfortunate outing."
Wood, 25, showed promise through parts of two seasons with the Reds, compiling an 11-10 record with a 4.18 ERA through 35 starts. But he has not put it together for the Cubs.
"Just keep plugging away," Sveum said, referencing the plan for the struggling southpaw. "You build him, you keep throwing him out wherever he's scheduled, whether it's a game or a Minor League game. From here, it's about getting confidence and getting people out."