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Braves settle surplus of starters by moving LHP Wood to bullpen

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The Canadian Press
5/9/2014 5:39:21 PM
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ATLANTA - The Braves found a temporary fix for their overstuffed rotation on Friday by moving Alex Wood to the bullpen for a week.

Wood had been scheduled to start Sunday against the Chicago Cubs but instead will become Atlanta's second left-handed reliever in addition to Luis Avilan.

Aaron Harang will make Sunday's start.

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said Wood will be back in the rotation on May 17 against St. Louis. Gonzalez said he'll take another look at his rotation in a week.

"This buys us eight days," he said. "Putting Wood in there kind of gives us a little breather and kind of gives him a little breather."

The 23-year-old is 2-5 with a 3.00 ERA in seven starts — including back-to-back 1-0 losses. He was on pace for about 220 innings, which would surpass his total of 139 2-3 innings last year.

"That's a pretty big gap," Wood said. "That's part of it. Right now we need help in the bullpen, too. It works best for everybody."

Atlanta could make a similar move with Wood after his start against the Cardinals by giving him another short stretch in the bullpen. The plan would keep Wood stretched out for occasional starts until he makes a full-time return to the rotation.

"They made it clear they see me in the rotation for the future," Wood said.

He was 3-3 with a 3.13 ERA last year in 11 starts and 20 relief appearances. He had a 2.08 ERA out of the bullpen.

"It's nice to go to the bullpen and have some experience throwing out of it, that's for sure," Wood said. "I know what to expect and I know what to do to stay ready and stay prepared. ... It's a compliment, going to the pen and pitching in tight situations where they need me."

Wood said it wasn't easy to pitch in relief for two months in 2013 and then move to the rotation. He spent 10 days in the minor leagues, making one start, before returning to Atlanta to join the rotation.

"It's definitely difficult going that long without starting in terms of getting back in the swing of things," he said.

Mike Minor and Gavin Floyd have returned from the disabled list to assume starting spots. That left the Braves with a surplus of starters, even after rookie David Hale was sent to the bullpen. The rotation also includes Julio Teheran, Ervin Santana and Harang.

Alex Wood (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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