PHOENIX -- Dodgers pitcher Alex Wood is in a precarious position, possibly the odd man out of the Dodgers' starting rotation once Hyun-jin Ryu is fully ready to rejoin the staff.
"The expectation is that I’ll be in the rotation and we’ll go from there," he said. "At the end of the day, all I want to do is win so whatever I can do to help the team win I’m going to do. But at the same time, my mentality is I’m a starter and I’ve earned the right to be a starter. I don’t plan on that changing if I can help it. That’s my mentality."
With Ryu a week or two behind the rest of the staff in ramping up for the season, the tentative opening day rotation for the Dodgers will likely have some combination of Scott Kazmir, Brett Anderson, Kenta Maeda and Wood slotting in after Clayton Kershaw, but it's likely only a short matter of time until Ryu would join the rotation. That leaves Wood, 25, as a likely candidate to be optioned or sent to the bullpen should the rotation run out of room.
Manager Dave Roberts said on Tuesday that he likes Wood's desire to start.
"I think it's great. Every player should have that confidence, and make our decisions tougher," Roberts said. "He's had a great winter, and the ball is coming out of his hand very well. He feels confident, and competition is always a good thing."
Roberts also expanded a bit on the bone bruise Wood suffered in his right foot just before getting traded to the Dodgers in July. Dealing with the pain caused Wood to alter his delivery, which helped produce rather ordinary numbers in 12 starts with the Dodgers — 4.35 ERA, 4.10 FIP, 16.8-percent strikeout rate.
Now healthy, Wood worked with the Dodgers to streamline his delivery, now back to a more consistent approach, one that Roberts is confident will yield results.
"The number one thing is health. He had an injury with his foot last year, his landing leg. Right now he's feeling strong. He made a couple mechanical changes as far as arm slot. He got down a little bit, dropped his arm slot, so now he's back up. That will add a little more depth to his pitches."
Wood threw his second bullpen session of camp on Tuesday.