ST. LOUIS -- As a result of lower back spasms from early in Spring Training, key Reds' offseason rotation acquisition Alex Wood hasn’t pitched since his lone Cactus League outing on Feb. 25. On Saturday, it was learned that the club will likely be without Wood a little longer than
ST. LOUIS -- As a result of lower back spasms from early in Spring Training, key Reds' offseason rotation acquisition Alex Wood hasn’t pitched since his lone Cactus League outing on Feb. 25. On Saturday, it was learned that the club will likely be without Wood a little longer than expected after he had another setback.
Wood had thrown two bullpen sessions since getting over a previous setback.
“I think he had his most encouraging day when he was in San Diego [last Saturday],” manager David Bell said. “But when he threw in the next session in Arizona, the next day it didn’t respond that well.
“It’s a little bit of a step back. He may go next week for an exam, like a second opinion, on his back.”
Following a Minor League game on March 24, Wood had his first setback when his back also didn’t feel right the day after he pitched.
Wood was part of the seven-player trade with the Dodgers on Dec. 21 that also brought Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp and Kyle Farmer to Cincinnati. Along with new pitchers Sonny Gray and Tanner Roark, and holdovers Luis Castillo and Anthony DeSclafani, Wood was expected to be a big part of the rotation’s turnaround.
The Reds entered Saturday with the best ERA in the National League at 3.15, but all the early success has come without Wood.
“We can’t wait to get Alex back,” Bell said. “We’ll just keep our fingers crossed that this is a minor setback, because he was definitely progressing. Our guys have stepped in and it’s been good. The one guy that we really thought would be a big part of it, he hasn’t yet. The depth has really helped us.”
Iglesias dazzles at shortstop
Throughout the first month of the season, Reds shortstop José Iglesias has made many sensational plays. One of the latest came in Thursday's win vs. the Braves, when Iglesias robbed Johan Camargo of a hit by making a sliding stop on a sharply-hit ground ball at the edge of the dirt before spinning and throwing him out.
Iglesias started a double play on Yadier Molina that was more routine in Friday’s 12-1 win over the Cardinals. Whether it's exceptional or ordinary plays, Bell appreciates that he can count on airtight defense at shortstop with Iglesias, who was originally signed during Spring Training to be a role player off the bench.
“It’s fun to watch him,” Bell said. “He loves to play defense. He loves to play shortstop. He works every day. It’s not really work -- he has a way of practicing that’s fun. He challenges himself. He makes things difficult for himself, so he’s ready for anything in the game. It’s fun to see him.
"He really has a passion for playing the position. He wants to make every single play. He’s not afraid of any play. He’s been a good example for everyone. I think we’re a better team for having him on the team, for sure.”
Iglesias, who was a 2015 American League All-Star for the Tigers, always takes extra pride in his glove work.
“People forget about defense, and how important it is in the game to put your team in the best position as possible to win games,” Iglesias said.
Much like former Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips, who also made dazzling defensive plays that looked flashy and improvised, Iglesias’ skills are not all created in the moment.
“There’s a lot of work, discipline and dedication behind it. But it’s also some natural instinct, as well, that comes with it,” Iglesias said. “Before games in batting practice, I practice those plays. It might seem a little bit different, but you never know when it’s going to happen, so you have to be ready for it. Those plays have become routine for me.”
Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook.