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Alex Wood allows 2 home runs in Cactus League debut

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

PHOENIX -- Outside of Clayton Kershaw, Scott Kazmir and Kenta Maeda, nobody on the Dodgers staff really has anything locked up in terms of winning a rotation spot. Nor will those final two spots be awarded based on everyone's first outing in the Cactus League.

And that's probably a good thing for Alex Wood, who allowed two first-inning home runs en route to giving up five runs in his two innings in the Dodgers' 8-5 loss to the Indians on Monday at Camelback Ranch.

"It was good to be back out there finally for the first time, but it was one of those weird ones. I felt good, I felt my stuff was pretty good for the most part," Wood recalled. "I made maybe one or two bad pitches, but I think the command will come as I keep getting out there. But overall I felt pretty good."

The two home runs — hit by Jose Ramirez and Giovanny Urshela — were bookends, with a pair of errors by shortstop Corey Seager, his first two of the spring.

"There were a couple pitches he would have liked to have back, and we could have played better defense behind him," manager Dave Roberts said. "At this stage, for Alex to get his work in, to have a good second inning, we feel good about it.

"You don't want to stress too much after the first inning, but he recovered and made some pitches."

Wood also struck out two and walked none.

Though just 25, Wood does have a major league track record to rely on, something that sets him apart from several of his rotation competitors. The left-hander has a 3.30 career ERA in 2½ seasons in the big leagues, with 386 strikeouts and 131 walks in 439 innings.

But he would have likely found himself on the outside looking in had Hyun-jin Ryu and Brett Anderson been healthy this spring. Now, with a rotation spot well within his grasp, Wood says he hasn't changed his demeanor or approach.

"At the end of the day I kind of had the same mentality the whole time, even when everybody was healthy. You have to put your work in," Wood explained. "You’d like to think the further along you go with your workload it will speak for itself a little bit, but at the same time you come in, put in the work and I’m excited for the opportunity. I look forward to my next start."

Notes

Charlie Culberson smacked a three-run home run in the fifth inning off Joba Chamberlain.

Rob Segedin, who started at third base in place of Howie Kendrick on Monday, doubled home a run in the sixth inning.

Seager, in addition to the two errors, also doubled and singled in three at-bats. "The more games he plays, the better he's going to get," Roberts said.

Ian Thomas pitched a scoreless ninth inning, striking out two, in his first Cactus League appearance of the year. Thomas hadn't thrown since a bullpen session last Monday. "He had a little bit of arm fatigue early, so we're trying to stretch him out," Roberts said.

Louis Coleman struck out three in a scoreless eighth inning, his second scoreless appearance in as many games.

Roberts said Kendrick's groin soreness wasn't considered serious, and at this point no MRI exams are scheduled. "At this point we're going to go by how he feels," Roberts said.

Ryu resumed his throwing program on Monday, playing light catch on the back fields after sitting for a week. The club will know more after they see how Ryu responds on Tuesday.

Up next

The Dodgers travel to Mesa to play the Cubs on Tuesday, with Clayton Kershaw ready for his second start of the Cactus League. Chicago will counter with Kyle Hendricks in the 12:05 p.m. PT start time, which won't be on television or radio.