Adversity for Wood, Leake
For the first time in their big league camp, Travis Wood and Mike Leake saw how the other half lived. Both had lackluster outings during a 6-0 Reds loss.
Wood gave up three runs (two earned) and three hits with two walks, four strikeouts and a hit-batter. Leake followed and allowed three earned runs and seven hits in his three innings.
The fact that he’s still in camp and pitching indicates that Wood is very much in the fifth starter’s race. Coming into camp, Dusty Baker had never seen him pitch and only knew the stats.
[Double-A Carolina pitching coach] Tom Brown talked a little about him,” Baker said. “I trust what he has to say, big time. He told me he was small in stature but pitched like a big man.”
Wood gave up all of his runs in the first inning on two home runs. Both were in hitters’ counts — 2-0 to Edgar Renteria and 1-0 to Aubrey Huff — After that, he was pretty good and only allowed one more hit.
“It could have went better,” Wood said. “I fell behind. I had to battle. I did a decent job but a couple of guys got me early. I just didn’t have the best stuff today but I made it work after the first inning. I came back and battled through it.”
Baker was hoping to see how both pitchers would handle adversity since both have had smooth performances to this point. He even left Leake out longer than he normally might have.
“They both handled it pretty good,” Baker said. “Their body language was good. You couldn’t tell if they were winning or losing, which translates a lot to the opposition that they’re battlers.”
*Wood and Leake pitch again on Friday. This time, Leake will be starting
*A Bay Area writer was in the clubhouse today and asked about Petaluma, Calif., native Jonny Gomes. Last spring, Gomes started with a bang but faded the final two weeks and was sent down. After he came up to the Reds in May he slugged 20 homers in 281 at-bats. This spring, Gomes has a guaranteed contract
“Last year, I was sort of spotting him against guys I thought he had the best chance to succeed with,’ Baker said. “We thought he did a pretty good job with that. He lost some weight this year. It seems like he’s running better. He’s worked hard on his defense to get better. Jonny knows this is an opportunity for him to put himself back on the map. He hasn’t had a good year in three or four years.
“He had one pretty good year. That didn’t really sell to the baseball people. You have two good years in a row, now they’ll say ok, he’s back. This is an important year for Jonny to restablish himself as a quality player.”
*Aaron Miles led off and played second base and hit a leadoff single to left field in a 1-for-2 day. He was also caught stealing. It was Miles’ only hit in 13 at-bats this spring (.077 average) after he got a late start because of a fractured right finger. Miles also committed a fielding error in the first inning, which gave Wood one unearned run when Huff followed with his two-run homer.
*Logan Ondrusek had another nice outing in relief with two scoreless innings. He has 5 1/3 scoreless innings his four appearances.
*Before the game, players in the clubhouse were glued to the TV watching St. Mary’s upset Villanova in the NCAA Tournament. Cheering could be heard from inside Baker’s office.
“California schools don’t play basketball, according to the rest of the world,” said a smiling Baker, who is of course a Golden State native.
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