CINCINNATI -- Alex Wood officially became a member of the Reds on Dec. 21, when he was acquired from the Dodgers in a seven-player trade. But the injured left-handed starting pitcher has spent no real time in the home clubhouse at Great American Ball Park, aside from one visit in January. That changed Monday, when Wood joined Cincinnati. He'll stay with the team until departing for a yet-to-be-scheduled rehab assignment.
“I’m very happy to be here and start getting the lay of the land,” said Wood, who was in the trade with Yasiel Puig, Kyle Farmer and Matt Kemp.
Wood hasn’t pitched since a Spring Training game on Feb. 25 because of recurring back spasms, one of multiple setbacks during his rehab program. He’s done most of his throwing and rehab at the team’s complex in Goodyear, Ariz.
Reds manager David Bell wanted Wood to be around the club again after he’s been mostly away since camp ended. He did join the team during a West Coast trip one week in April.
“When he called me last week and said, 'It’s time to be with us the remainder of the way,' I was really, really excited,” Wood said. “It’s nice to not have to wake up at 7:30 and go to the Spring Training complex in extended [spring camp]. I had a lot of time with my wife, so that was fun, but minus that, it was not easy. I’m extremely happy to be here and finally be a part of [the team when] we’re starting to play really good baseball.”
Wood was nearing a rehab assignment in late April when he suffered a setback, his second. He went to Los Angeles for a second opinion, where he was examined by back specialist Dr. Robert Watkins.
“He kind of gave me peace of mind,” Wood said. “I shut [it] down for 3 1/2 weeks and was just on a strict rehab program and wasn’t throwing, which was the first time in the whole process that I had done that. The longest I had gone at any point was five days without doing anything to let it heal. That in itself was the biggest thing. Nothing crazy showed up on all the scans I had done ... it really was just back spasms and inflammation. Just getting on his rehab program and his core strengthening program did wonders, for sure. I feel really good.”
Wood’s throwing program has been solely on flat ground, but the hope is he could be pitching off a mound within a couple of weeks. Once Wood does complete a few bullpen sessions without issue, he could begin a rehab assignment in the Minor Leagues.
In the meantime, Wood will remain with the team and travel on road trips while continuing to throw.
“It’s a big step for him to just be here, to be around the team,” Bell said. “He’s not feeling any pain, and now it’s a matter of building his arm back up, because his back is healthy. It will be great to have him around, and hopefully just the energy of being around the team will get him back sooner.”
26th man added
Under the doubleheader rules, the Reds and Pirates can carry a 26th man on their rosters for the day. Cincinnati recalled left-handed reliever Cody Reed from Triple-A Louisville. Reed must go back to Louisville on Tuesday.
The promotion was Reed’s third stint in the Majors this season. His previous callups were also for one day each. Reed has allowed one run, three hits and one walk in 4 1/3 innings, striking out seven.