SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Reds left-handed starting pitcher Alex Wood passed a test on Friday when he pitched two innings during a simulated game against Minor League hitters.
Wood, who hasn’t pitched in a Cactus League game since Feb. 25 because of a sore lower back, faced eight batters in two innings with one walk. He threw 36 pitches.
“Just health and getting that first one since my back cropped up,” Wood said. “I definitely felt good from that standpoint and hopefully I will recover well tomorrow and make my next start.”
Wood breezed through the first three batters and, since it was a simulated game on a practice field, pitching coach Derek Johnson was able to order a fourth batter to hit. Wood notched two fly outs to left field and a pair of pop outs to second base.
In the second inning, Wood seemed more dialed in. On a couple of occasions after pitches, Johnson shouted, “Yes!” or, “Nice!” from his perch behind the backstop. He again faced four batters with one walk and one strikeout before the session wrapped.
“It’s having to split Sonny and I up without messing up how we go forward moving into the regular season,” Wood said. “I’ll probably throw Wednesday on the off-day and then in a [real] game after that. It was good to get through today.”
Reds manager David Bell remained optimistic, but non-committal, that Wood would be ready in time for the regular season.
“I wouldn’t want to say that yet, but I wouldn’t want to not say it either,” Bell said. “I think it’s still possible. It’s kind of one step at a time. There’s still time to get it done. Again, we’re not super concerned with getting him by Opening Day. I think within the first week to 10 days, that’s probably a realistic target. At the same time, I’m not ready to say he’s not going to be ready day one, two, three, four or five. It could happen.”
Reliever Matt Bowman, dealing with a right lat strain, passed his test of facing hitters in live batting practice on Thursday. Bowman’s next step is to make his spring debut in a game, which hasn’t been scheduled yet.
Pitcher Robert Stephenson, who had been sidelined with right shoulder inflammation, also threw live batting practice on Thursday, but will get another session of that on Sunday before he can be scheduled to get into his first game.
No cuts yet
The Reds are past the halfway point of Spring Training and have yet to make any roster cuts. They still have 63 players in camp and, of course, must get down to a 25-man roster for Opening Day on March 28.
Bell did not reveal when the first roster trims would be made.
“Everybody understands that it’s inevitable that it’s going to happen,” he said. “The date and who that will be has not been determined but it’s coming up pretty soon. It just has to happen. We will get our team down to pretty close to where it will be on Opening Day before we leave here. We’re getting to that point in Spring Training.”
One of their big offseason acquisitions, Gray will make his much-anticipated debut when the Reds face the Padres at 8:40 p.m. ET on Saturday in Peoria, Ariz. Also scheduled to pitch are Amir Garrett, Matt Wisler and Cody Reed.