Cubs fans shouldn’t expect to see their only representative play in the All-Star Game.
Assuming there are no rainouts, Cubs officials are talking about Travis Wood as strictly a spectator for next week’s event at Citi Field in New York. That’s the predicted outcome with Wood scheduled to pitch on Sunday night at Wrigley Field against the St. Louis Cardinals.
That platform — playing in front of a national television audience in a rivalry game — will have to be the consolation prize.
“(That’s) a pretty good venue for a guy that obviously deserves just as much as anybody to be in the (All-Star Game),” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Monday at U.S. Cellular Field. “To pitch on Sunday night against the Cardinals leading into the All-Star Game is promoting the All-Star Game as much as anything. That’s about as good as you can get, other than playing in it.”
The collective bargaining agreement contains a “Sunday Pitcher Rule,” which allows the player to decide whether or not to participate. He can’t throw for more than one inning and would have the option to set a pitch count.
Wood isn’t the only pitcher in this situation — he’s scheduled to start opposite Cardinals ace and fellow National League All Star Adam Wainwright. NL manager Bruce Bochy is expected to reward one of his World Series heroes, San Francisco Giants closer Sergio Romo, with a spot on the team.
Sveum said the Cubs couldn’t reset their rotation to give Wood (5-6, 2.69 ERA) a shot to pitch on July 16 against the game’s best hitters. The 26-year-old left-hander from Arkansas will have to settle for enjoying the sights and sounds in New York.
“Hopefully, he gets to pitch in a lot more All-Star Games,” Sveum said. “You try not to adjust things for something like that. He made the team, and it’s going to be a great experience. Whenever you go for the first time, it’s an unbelievable experience. Sunday night’s going to be a pretty good venue for him to showcase and let everybody know that he’s in the All-Star Game.”