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    Default Wood battles his way back

    Wood battles his way back
    Sunday, June 12, 2011
    By Paul Zeise, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    Pirates reliever Tim Wood believed he deserved a legitimate shot to make a major league roster. So, when the Washington Nationals designated him for assignment to their Class AA affiliate at the end of spring training, he asked for and received his unconditional release.

    He immediately signed with the Pirates, who sent him to Class AAA Indianapolis. After a slow start, he became one of the best relievers in the International League with 13 saves (second in league) and did not allow a home run in 23 appearances.

    Friday, he was called up to replace injured reliever Evan Meek and pitched one scoreless inning in the Pirates' 8-1 loss against the New York Mets.

    And that made it hard for him not to feel vindicated by the way things have gone this season.

    "At one point in spring training, it was three teams in five months for me, but I am thankful for this opportunity," Wood said. "I'm trying to make the most of my opportunity while I am here. I just thought I was better than a Double-A pitcher so I asked for my release.

    "I don't want to rub it in [the Nationals'] face, but it definitely feels good to go to another organization and show them I can still pitch."

    Wood, from Tucson, Ariz., began his career in 2003 in the Florida Marlins' organization and played for them until he was released at the end of last season after he had season-ending elbow surgery. He made 44 total major league appearances for the Marlins in 2009 and '10.

    He pitched a scoreless seventh with the Pirates clinging to a 3-2 lead Saturday, facing four batters and allowing one hit.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]A starting point[/HIGH-LIGHT]

    Wyatt Toregas made his first start for the Pirates Saturday night as they continue to juggle catchers in the wake of injuries to regulars Chris Snyder and Ryan Doumit .

    Toregas, signed as a minor league free agent in December, was called up this week after Snyder needed surgery for a back injury. He hit .258 in eight minor league seasons and .176 in 51 at-bats with Cleveland.

    "He has been a pretty solid catch-and-throw guy," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "We saw him, he's just a bat-handler, move the ball around and hit you a double, but he is pretty much a defensive ... a second catcher, an organizational-type catcher who has had a small volume of big league games."

    Toregas did not take long to showcase his arm, catching Mets lead-off hitter Jose Reyes trying to steal second in the first inning.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]There's a catch to it[/HIGH-LIGHT]

    Hurdle reiterated Saturday that the team is shopping for a catcher, but will not make a deal unless it makes sense and legitimately addresses the need.

    "I don't think it is any secret that we are looking externally [for a catcher]," Hurdle said. "But everybody knows the situation we're in, so, when you ask [other teams about a trade], we get some sticker shock. It is the nature of the industry -- it is like a shark that smells blood.

    "Teams know we have a need, so the [asking price] is much greater now than it was two weeks ago. We just want to be smart and also use some patience because you want to find the right guy. We don't want to sacrifice the future for a fit right now."

    [HIGH-LIGHT]Rare night off for Cedeno[/HIGH-LIGHT]

    Brandon Wood started at shortstop Saturday night in place of Ronny Cedeno.

    "Nothing more than [a rest]," Hurdle said. "He has played 60 to 62 games. He's one of a couple or three guys I have to find a spell for here and sooner rather than later."

    The previous time Cedeno did not appear in a game was April 27 against San Francisco. Although Cedeno did not start, he entered the game in the eighth as a defensive replacement for Wood.

    [HIGH-LIGHT]Buried treasure[/HIGH-LIGHT]

    [HIGH-LIGHT][/HIGH-LIGHT] The Pirates and Mets will play today and Monday at PNC Park, and that will be the end of the season series.

    [HIGH-LIGHT][/HIGH-LIGHT] This was the Pirates' fourth sellout this season. Last year, they sold out seven games.

    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11163/1153246-63.stm
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    Default Re: Wood battles his way back

    I certainly wish this kid well and hope he brings his Indy success to Pittsburgh and the bullpen.
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