Chris Bosio takes pride in Travis Wood’s selection to All-Star Game
By TONI GINNETTI firstname.lastname@example.org July 6, 2013 9:36PM
The facts: 1:20 p.m., Ch. 9, 720-AM.
The starters: A.J. Burnett (4-6, 3.12 ERA) vs. Carlos Villanueva (2-4, 3.45).
Updated: August 8, 2013 7:13AM
Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio might have been more proud of left-handed starter Travis Wood’s selection to the All-Star team Saturday than Wood.
“This is a good example of what can happen to a young man, sent to the minors after spring training [last season] who works his tail off,’’ Bosio said. “He hasn’t looked back, and he’s gotten better and better. It’s been fun to watch and see him evolve.’’
Wood, 26, will be the team’s lone representative at the game July 16 at Citi Field in New York, but his credentials are among the best in baseball.
He is 5-6 but with a 2.69 ERA and a major-league-leading 16 quality starts in 17 outings. He is the first Cubs pitcher to make the team since left-hander Ted Lilly in 2009 and only the third Cubs lefty all-time, joining Dick Ellsworth in 1964.
“It’s amazing. It’s a goal you set as a player, and to be selected is awesome,’’ said Wood, who came to the Cubs from the Cincinnati Reds as part of a deal for reliever Sean Marshall in one of Theo Epstein’s first significant trades.
Wood was sent down after spring training last season but was recalled in May. Bosio and the staff worked to get him more efficient pitching to “his arm side.’’
“They’ve been a big part of this,’’ Wood said of the staff. “Coming to a new team and the direction they wanted — we worked hard on it last year. It definitely happened quickly. It definitely feels good to have it pay off so quickly.’’
Alfonso Soriano’s 32nd career multihomer game Saturday accounted for all the scoring to back Edwin Jackson’s 4-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates. Soriano had a pair of two-run homers off Charlie Morton (1-2) to move ahead of Andre Dawson into 12th place on the Cubs’ all-time list with 176.
His five homers in the last 10 games mirror his patented hot streaks, but they also have him thinking about a potential role as a designated hitter.
“Those two days off in Milwaukee [on the last road trip] and playing DH in Seattle and Oakland helped my legs feel fresh,’’ he said. “It’s very hard to think about DHing because I’ve always played in the field. I’m 37 and can play the field, but it does have me thinking about it.’’
That could become a factor if he is asked to waive his no-trade rights.
“I don’t want to think about it today,’’ he said. “They talk about trades, and nothing happens. I just want to play my game.’’
General manager Jed Hoyer remains optimistic about signing first-round draft pick Kris Bryant by the deadline Saturday.
“It’s not white-knuckle time. We’re going to be fair with what we offer him,’’ Hoyer said of the third baseman and second overall pick. “We want him to be a Cub, and hopefully what we offer will enable that to happen.’’