Few pitchers have been happier to be pulled in the middle of an inning than Cleveland Indians right-hander Blake Wood was Monday.
Wood was yanked in the seventh inning of the Indians’ 5-4 loss to the Cincinnati Reds, but manager Terry Francona had a little surprise for the hurler when he came out to the mound.
Francona and Indians general manager Chris Antonetti already had decided that Wood, a 28-year-old who made two appearances for the team in 2013, would be on Cleveland’s Opening Day roster. But rather than waiting until the following morning as originally planned, the skipper decided to inform his pitcher of the decision right there on the mound.
“When I went to take him out, (catcher Luke) Carlin was coming, and I told him to stay back there a little bit,” Francona told FOX Sports. “I went out there and asked (Wood) if he ever made the team on the mound? He was like, no. I go, ‘Well, you just did.’ After that, we came and talked to him (in) the dugout, but you could tell he was pretty excited.”
Wood appeared in 106 games for the Kansas City Royals in 2010 and 2011, but Tommy John surgery sidelined him for the entire 2012 season. He spent the bulk of 2013 in the minors, pitching at four levels of the Indians organization before finally breaking through with the big club in September.
“Just coming back from what I did and making the Opening Day roster is really fulfilling,” Wood said. “It has given me perspective on a lot of things.”
Check out a shot of Francona’s memorable mound visit below.
This was a cool moment and classic Tito. He tells Blake Wood that he made club as he takes him out a few days ago. http://t.co/XKHVLA875F—
Mark Shapiro (@MarkShapiro) March 28, 2014