Wood wins rotation spot, homers for Cubs in loss to D-backs
PHOENIX (AP) Hours after securing the last spot in the Cubs' rotation, Travis Wood hit his second home run of the spring as a pinch hitter in Chicago's 5-1 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday night.
Wood led off the third inning and sent Jeremy Hellickson's first pitch into the Chase Field stands in left-center. Wood will pitch Saturday.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon announced the left-hander beat out Edwin Jackson, who will become a long reliever. Jackson started and gave up an unearned run in one inning.
''It was really a close thing between Edwin and Woody,'' Maddon said. ''Part of it is, just matchups for the first month of the season.''
Maddon said the order of his rotation will be Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta, Jason Hammel, Wood and Kyle Hendricks.
Second baseman Tommy La Stella's two-out error led to Mark Trumbo's RBI single off Jackson. Trumbo added another RBI single in the fifth.
Arizona slugger Paul Goldschmidt hit his third homer off Pedro Strop in the third.
Hellickson allowed five hits in five innings.
Cubs: Jackson also gave up a single to Chris Owings in his 25-pitch outing, ending a spring in which he was best known for driving to the wrong ballpark and missing a start.
''You have to have length in the bullpen and he definitely provides that,'' Maddon said.
Diamondbacks: Hellickson walked three and threw 95 pitches.
''He got a little tired,'' manager Chip Hale said.
Hellickson also doubled to center over a shallow outfield in the second.
Cubs: OF Dexter Fowler (lower back tightness) left after an inning, but the team said it wasn't serious. . OF Chris Coghlan (stiff neck) sat out as a precaution. ''I'll go play on Sunday,'' he said. . Maddon said OF Chris Denorfia (hamstring) will likely go on the disabled list, but is close to returning.
Diamondbacks: Arizona closer Addison Reed (shoulder) threw in a minor league game to complete his first back-to-back appearances of the spring.
The Diamondbacks announced a couple of key decisions:
- Archie Bradley is the fifth starter after Thursday's trade of Trevor Cahill to Atlanta.
- Aaron Hill won't be the starting second baseman, leaving his future uncertain.
Arizona chief baseball officer Tony La Russa said the 22-year-old Bradley, the team's top pitching prospect, deserves his spot.
''Or Trevor would still be here,'' La Russa said. ''He'll know that he earned it, which is the ideal way to earn respect among your teammates.''
Hale said Owings will start at second and Nick Ahmed at shortstop. That means Hill, due $12 million this season, will serve a utility role if he's not traded.
Hill played the final innings at third base and had an RBI double in the eighth.
''I still feel like Aaron Hill can help us win, but it's going to be hard,'' Hale said. ''We have to get him enough at-bats to get him going.''
Maddon gave his start-of-the-season speech to his players before batting practice.
''Nailed it,'' he said, smiling and adding that he's ''really, highly, totally, absolutely excited about this team.''
Maddon said the Cubs could wait until Sunday morning to finalize the roster. He added that David Ross won't be Lester's personal catcher, and indicated Lester could bat eighth in Sunday's opener against St. Louis.
''I like the idea of the two leadoff hitters behind the No. 2 (batter),'' Maddon said.
Left-hander Drake Britton cleared waivers and was sent to Triple-A Iowa.
Arizona expects to decide Saturday whether to send Cuban slugger Yasmany Tomas to the minors. Hale hinted rookie Jake Lamb's superior defense at third base will be a factor.
''Jake has played really well there,'' Hale said. ''We feel like with that defense in the infield, it makes us a much better team, especially here at Chase where the ball gets through the infield so quickly.''
Tomas played the final innings in right field.
Wood and Hendricks will pitch an inning each for the Cubs, and Arizona's Vidal Nuno starts Saturday in the teams' spring finale.