Dodgers News: Alex Wood Focused On Health In Addition To Spring Training Results

One of the biggest question marks for the Los Angeles Dodgers heading into Spring Training this year is who will fill out the back of their starting rotation behind Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw and David Price.

The Dodgers have already indicated that Julio Urias is a lock to make the rotation if healthy, and it seems that Alex Wood is the favorite to earn the fifth spot over the like of Dustin May, Tony Gonsolin, Jimmy Nelson and Ross Stripling.

Wood made his first start since returning to the Dodgers on, tossing a scoreless inning against the Chicago Cubs while striking out two and allowing just one hit. After an injury-plagued 2019 season with the Cincinnati Reds, Wood is now healthy and happy with how he is looking to begin camp.

“It was good. Good first start. I felt good,” he said. “I’ve been throwing for a while and just itching. Live BP is a little bit better but to finally get into a game, I’m feeling great. All my stuff was really good, I’m feeling healthy. It was a really, really good start.”

While the main purpose of Spring Training for big leaguers is to prepare for the regular season and stay healthy, Wood also values outcomes in Cactus League play.

“I’ve always taken a stance where, Spring Training, you want to get you work in, you want to build up and come out healthy. But at the same time, the results matter,” he explained. They always matter to me. I’m not someone who wants to go out there and get the participation trophy. But it’s two things: the results, but also seeing where my stuff is at.

“That’s really important, because if your stuff is good in Spring Training, especially in Arizona, it’s going to play. I felt like my stuff has been good and today kind of confirmed that for me.”

Wood was an All-Star for the Dodgers in 2017 and had another solid year in 2018 before being traded to Cincinnati and suffering a back injury last spring. After such a tough year, Wood made changes to his offseason workout routine and incorporated Driveline Baseball to help tweak his mechanics so he can prevent the back injury from resurfacing.

“I trained differently in the offseason; a lot smarter, a little more one-on-one stuff. The main reason I went to Driveline and got with Rob was for health. That was the No. 1 reason I went there,” Wood said.

“I’ve got a lot of moving parts and if they’re moving together, it’s really good and I can stay healthy. I feel like I’ve been able to accomplish that from a mechanical standpoint. Just kind of cementing that through all the work and all the throwing, having a good idea of what I need to do in between (starts) is really important.

“I’m excited about things paying off but also being able to stay in that window of consistency through a lot of the stuff I did in the offseason.”

While Wood obviously has a long way to go to be regular-season-ready, he concluded that he is happy to be back in Dodger Blue. “Good, almost like I never left in some sense. It’s been great,” the southpaw said. “Me and Austin (Barnes) have such a great rapport, he knows me as well as anybody I’ve ever thrown to.”

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