Sunday, September 21, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Touch 'Em All: Cubs' Wood good with lumber

A night after pitching eight brilliant innings against the Phils, Travis Wood won a game for the Cubs with his bat.
A night after pitching eight brilliant innings against the Phils, Travis Wood won a game for the Cubs with his bat. AP
Manager Rick Renteria remains firm in not moving Travis Wood from the No. 9 spot in the Chicago Cubs' batting order on the days he pitches.

But the lefty who dominated the Phillies on Father's Day in an embarrassing 3-0 loss is making a stronger case to be employed as a pinch-hitter.

Wood's reputation with a bat took a leap late Monday when he hit a pinch-hit double to score Junior Lake from first base with two out in the bottom of the 13th inning to give the Cubs a 5-4 win at Miami.

"He can take all my at-bats for me," starting pitcher Jason Hammel said. "Just goes to show you his abilities go beyond his pitching."

With the RBI double, Wood achieved a career high of nine RBIs with more than half the season left.

"I always hit growing up [in Arkansas]," Wood said. "I just stuck with it. It's part of my job as a starting pitcher in the National League, I practice it and do the best I can."

Wood is batting .276 (8 for 29) with two home runs.

Hold those Tigers

Sure it's still only June. But Tigers fans had to be alarmed after 2013 AL Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer gave up 10 runs to the Royals (including seven in one inning) on a night when first place in the AL Central was on the line. A fun Scherzer fact: On June 12, in his 179th career start, he pitched his first career complete game in a 4-0 win over the White Sox. That was the longest stretch any major-league starter had gone without a complete game since 1900.

Then went Bronson

When you talk about the Diamondbacks' Bronson Arroyo and his best attribute, it's not any particular pitch he throws. It's his durability.

That's one of the reasons Arroyo, 37, got a two-year, $23.5 million contract this past offseason. Fifteen years into his MLB career, Arroyo had never gone on the disabled list. That changed Monday, when the D'backs announced Arroyo was going on the DL with right-elbow tendinitis.

Thus, his streak of 369 consecutive starts without a trip to the disabled list was snapped. It was the second-longest such streak in MLB.

His 369 career starts without going on the disabled list were second most among active pitchers behind the Blue Jays' Mark Buehrle (443 starts) and ahead of the Tigers' Justin Verlander (280).

Plunking penalty

The Colorado Rockies and Atlanta Braves didn't empty their benches and bullpens Thursday, but the league found it fit on Tuesday to punish players on each side of a near-skirmish. Rockies relief pitcher Nick Masset was suspended for three games by the league and fined an undisclosed amount after it decided he intentionally hit Evan Gattis of the Braves with a pitch. After Masset was ejected from the game, he got high-fives from his teammates, signaling his plunking of Gattis was indeed intentional and approved.

Punched out

Drew Pomeranz had been another of those diamonds in the rough the Athletics seem to always be digging up.

Going into his Monday night start against the Texas Rangers, Pomeranz had a 1.90 ERA through 17 appearances, eight as a starter.

Then things went really wrong. Pomeranz gave up seven earned runs in 32/3 innings in Oakland's 14-8 loss, making his ERA jump up to 2.91. That's not the worst part, though. Pomeranz fractured his hand in a fit of rage afterward.

Pomeranz punched a wooden chair out of frustration on his way back to the clubhouse.

Pomeranz: "It sucks. It was stupid. Obviously it's something I didn't mean to happen."

- Inquirer wire services

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