Cubs shaking up the roster in advance of series vs. Rangers

Cubs shaking up the roster in advance of series vs. Rangers
April 16, 2013, 9:15 am
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Tony Andracki

First pitch: 7:05 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet. (Cubs Postgame Live immediately follows the game.)

On the mound: Travis Wood (1-0, 1.46 ERA, 1.05 WHIP) vs. Derek Holland (0-1, 2.40 ERA, 1.00 WHIP)

Wood is off to a good start in 2013 and remains the only Cubs starting pitcher with a winning record.

The Cubs acquire Wood shortly after Theo Epstein took over the front office, trading elite reliever Sean Marshall to the Reds for Wood, Dave Sappelt and Rony Torreyes.

[RELATED -- The Cubs playbook: Looking back at the Marshall trade]

The 26-year-old lefty started last season in the minors, making seven starts for Triple-A Iowa. He was called up mid-season and made 26 starts the rest of the way in the Cubs' rotation, putting up a 6-13 record with a 4.27 ERA and 1.20 WHIP. He was doomed by the longball, as he surrendered 25 homers in 156 innings (1.4 HR/9).

But last season was the outlier. In his other 220 1/3 innings in the big leagues, Wood has only surrendered 19 homers and he carries a career 0.7 HR/9 ratio in the minors.

Holland, also a 26-year-old southpaw, is a former top prospect and has been a staple in the Rangers' rotation the past couple of seasons.

Today's storyline: Wood's future

Sitting at 4-8, the Cubs are not off to the start they wanted. They knew they had to get out of the gates hot in order to keep the front office from selling off parts. It's still very early, but if things continue down this path, the Cubs will, indeed, be sellers come July.

So where does Wood fit in? Is he a long-term piece?

[RELATED -- World Series or bust: The Cubs need business, baseball sides clicking]

The Cubs will have to decide that over the next couple of months. Wood got his chance in the rotation this spring after injuries to Matt Garza and Scott Baker and he's made the most of it. Toss in a decent -- but unlucky -- 2012 season and his age, and Wood could be a viable rotation piece for the future.

Lineup

1. Dave Sappelt CF
2. Starlin Castro SS
3. Anthony Rizzo 1B
4. Alfonso Soriano LF
5. Scott Hairston RF
6. Welington Castillo C
7. Darwin Barney 2B
8. Alberto Gonzalez 3B
9. Travis Wood P


What else to watch for

Darwin Barney was activated from the disabled list and will be in the lineup, instantly giving the Cubs a lift defensively.

In addition, the Cubs added Kameron Loe and Kevin Gregg to the 25-man roster, sending Rafael Dolis down to Triple-A Iowa and designated lefty Hisanori Takahashi and utility man Brent Lillibridge for assignment. The Cubs also claimed veteran infielder Cody Ransom off waivers.

The last word

It's April, so of course the weather is going to be a topic of discussion. Tuesday night in Chicago could be another cold, wet evening. The temperature at first pitch will be below 50 and there is a chance of showers starting around 9 p.m.

It's going to be another tough night to play at Wrigley, but like the Chicago teams have been saying all year, both teams have to play in the same weather on a given night.