Travis Wood could be in position to pitch for the Chicago Cubs on opening day and if his first start at spring training is any indication, he’s going to make it a tough decision for manager Rick Renteria.
Wood gave up one hit and struck out three in three scoreless innings Thursday as the Cubs fell to the Cleveland Indians, 1-0.
“It was a good day today, pitches were working,” Wood said. “I got away with a couple and (center field Albert) Almora made a great play but, you know, it was just nice to get out there.”
Wood, who threw 200 innings last year and was an All-Star, had his first scheduled start rained out last Saturday and pitched a two-inning simulated game instead.
Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera drew a bases-loaded walk in the fourth to score Nick Swisher for the game’s only run. As a whole, the Indians only had four hits.
Trevor Bauer, in the running to be the Indians’ fifth starter, struck out four in two innings. Bauer, Aaron Harang, C.C. Lee and Scott Barnes combined to throw six scoreless innings with eight strikeouts and four walks.
Indians: Justin Masterson gave up three hits and a walk, but struck out three in three scoreless innings.
Masterson worked himself into a bases-loaded jam in the first by giving up one-out hits to Donnie Murphy and Anthony Rizzo while walking Nate Schierholtz. He got out of it by striking out Welington Castillo and getting Mike Olt on a flyball.
“I felt OK, nothing over the top,” Masterson said. “Didn’t really want to walk anybody, so make them hit the ball somehow. ‘Here you go.’ I was about to go underhand on a couple, just to make sure that they put it in play.”
Indians: Utility infielder Jose Ramirez (left thumb surgery) made his Cactus League debut, taking over for Jason Kipnis at second. He flied out in his only at-bat in the eighth.
Rizzo got two hits. In four games, the Cubs first baseman is 5 for 10 with two doubles and has scored three runs.
In the third inning, Indians third baseman Carlos Santana dropped a line drive hit right to him, but was able to recover and throw out Emilio Bonifacio at second. Santana has been a catcher for most of his career.
“The hard thing about (spring training) games is, unless they hit seven or eight balls, you kind of go off of his work during the day and that part he’s done great,” Indians manager Terry Francona said.
In the first inning, Kipnis hit a ball into center field, but Almora ran it down for a sliding catch at the warning track.
The Cubs and Indians will go at it again on Friday in Mesa. Carlos Carrasco is scheduled to start for the Indians and Edwin Jackson will pitch for Chicago.