Wood offered needed relief
Not to be overlooked in the Marlins’ 7-4 loss to the Pirates on Friday night were three shutdown relief innings from Tim Wood, a recent callup from Triple-A New Orleans.
“He went three innings and 36 pitches,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “He was very effective with his pitches. He really saved us. He really, really saved us, picking up those three innings. And he kept us in the ball game.”
Because of a 45-minute rain delay in the bottom of the third inning, starter Chris Volstad didn’t return for the fourth inning. That meant the bullpen needed to pick up some extra innings. Two days before, long reliever Burke Badenhop, tossed 2 2/3 innings in relief of Josh Johnson on Wednesday against the Nationals.
Long relief isn’t a role that Wood normally handles. But because Badenhop wasn’t available, Wood assumed long relief duties on Friday.
It marked the most innings he’s thrown since he returned from Tommy John ligament replacement surgery to his right elbow in 2006.
“I’ve made spot starts, but I didn’t go three innings,” Wood said on Saturday.
Friday was Wood’s third MLB appearance since being brought up.
He retired the first eight batters he faced before allowing a single to Adam LaRoche followed by a walk to Garrett Jones. Wood was able to escape the jam by getting Andy LaRoche to tap a ground ball to shortstop.
Admittedly, Wood felt fatigued in his third straight inning.
“I was definitely getting tired,” he said. “I was getting winded a little bit. I was able to bear down and make some pitches.”
Wood held the score at 4-0 after six innings.
The Marlins are in need of bullpen help due to some injuries. Closer Matt Lindstrom (sprained right elbow) and Kiko Calero (right shoulder inflammation) are out.
The Marlins have come to terms with veteran reliever Luis Ayala to a Minor League contract. Ayala will get some work at Triple-A New Orleans before joining the club.
Lindstrom threw off flat ground for the second straight day, and he could be back shortly after the All-Star Break. Calero, who is scheduled to pitch in a rehab assignment game for Class A Jupiter on Saturday, may be ready to join the team late next week at Arizona.
Wood is striving to help out whenever he is called upon.
“I’m noticing that you have to throw strikes,” he said of how to achieve big league success. “You’ve got to be ahead in the count. You can’t fall behind and be in fastball counts. These guys are professional hitters. They don’t miss fastballs in fastball counts.”
– Joe Frisaro