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SF Giants: Alex Wood to Return to Starting Rotation

SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA - MARCH 04: Alex Wood #57 of the San Francisco Giants delivers during the first inning of a spring training game against the Chicago White Sox at Scottsdale Stadium on March 04, 2021 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA - MARCH 04: Alex Wood #57 of the San Francisco Giants delivers during the first inning of a spring training game against the Chicago White Sox at Scottsdale Stadium on March 04, 2021 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
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SF Giants, Alex Wood
SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA – MARCH 04: Alex Wood #57 of the SF Giants delivers during the first inning of a spring training game against the Chicago White Sox at Scottsdale Stadium on March 04, 2021 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

A key lefty is set to rejoin the SF Giants rotation and make his 2021 debut after undergoing a back procedure in March.

SF Giants: Alex Wood to Return to Starting Rotation

With Johnny Cueto hitting the injured list with a lat strain, Alex Wood’s return to the team could not have come at a better time. The veteran southpaw is set to take the hill for the first time in a Giants uniform on Sunday.

Wood came over to the Giants this past offseason on a one-year, $3 million contract with a lot of incentives. In eight seasons, he has made stops with the Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds, and two stints with the Los Angeles Dodgers. In his second stint, he worked out of the bullpen for a Dodgers team that went on to win the World Series in 2020.

Since he debuted back in 2013, the 30-year-old has registered a 3.45 ERA, 3.51 FIP, 1.23 WHIP, and a solid 3.21 SO/W ratio. However, due to injuries, Wood has struggled to the tune of a 5.96 ERA, dating back to the start of 2019. In that time, he has only amassed a total of 48.1 innings.

When healthy, performance has rarely been the issue, but durability is another story. San Francisco signed a handful of pitchers who have sustained major injuries in recent seasons, including Wood. This is an experiment that could pay dividends but it bears a fair amount of risk as well.

With Wood, it is going to be quality-over-quantity in terms of workload. The left-handed hurler has exceeded the 150-inning threshold just twice (2017 and 2018) since 2015. The Giants likely did not sign Wood to handle that type of workload. Nevertheless, they have 149 games remaining and Wood is expected to start a portion of those games.

That said, the Giants will be happy to welcome the only lefty into their rotation. Wood flashes a low-90’s fastball with good sink to go along with a curveball and changeup. Despite the lack of premium velocity, he has managed to record 8.3 K/9, so he still gets a decent amount of strikeouts while inducing a ground ball in 48.8 percent of batted ball events.

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Furthermore, Wood hides the ball well before releasing it. Giants fans will see a pitcher who does not beat himself and knows what to do once he is on the mound. He is set to square off against the Marlins on Sunday, but the Giants will need to make a roster move to create an opening on the 26-man roster for Wood.

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