With Garza return coming, Travis Wood making pitch for Cubs’ rotation
BY GORDON WITTENMYER email@example.com April 4, 2013 9:59PM
Travis Wood leads the majors with 15 quality starts and is the Cubs’ likely All-Star representative. | Gene J. Puskar-AP
CUBS AT BRAVES
The facts: 6:30 p.m., CSN+,
The pitchers: Scott Feldman
(6-11, 5.09 ERA in 2012) vs. Mike Minor (11-10, 4.12).
THE REST OF THE SERIES
Saturday: 6:10 p.m., Ch. 9,
720-AM. Carlos Villanueva
(7-7, 4.16) vs. Julio Teheran (0-0, 5.68).
Sunday: 12:35 p.m., CSN,
720-AM. Jeff Samardzija (1-0, 0.00, 2013) vs. Tim Hudson (0-0, 6.23, 2013).
Updated: April 5, 2013 8:58PM
PITTSBURGH — This time last year, Travis Wood was pitching for Iowa. This time last September, he was fighting out of an eight-game losing streak.
So when the Cubs left-hander pitched six scoreless innings in his season debut Thursday against the Pittsburgh Pirates to earn the victory, it held a little extra meaning for him.
‘‘Absolutely,” said Wood, who allowed one hit and two walks. ‘‘It’s great to start the season up here and get off to a good start. Hopefully, we can grow from there.’’
Matt Garza (strained latissimus dorsi) is expected back from the disabled list Friday and in the Cubs’ rotation sometime in May. The way Wood (1-0) has pitched since the spring, and the fact that he’s the only lefty in the starting mix, could give him a head start on sticking when Garza returns.
For now, he seems more focused on the Cubs’ opening-series victory as they head to Atlanta.
‘‘Huge,’’ he said. ‘‘That’s got to be our goal, for each series. If we take a loss [like Wednesday], take a loss and come back out the next game and get after it.’’
Garza threw his first bullpen session Thursday since suffering a setback with his rehab. He has been sidelined since Feb. 17.
◆ Nate Schierholtz’s two-out homer in the eighth inning off Jared Hughes was his first home run since Aug. 1 against Cubs teammate Edwin Jackson, then with the Washington Nationals.
◆ The Cubs won their opening series for the first time in four years.