Atlanta Braves rookie Alex Wood will make his first major league start Tuesday against the New York Mets. The big lefty with the herky-jerky motion, who was called up to the Braves from Double-A Mississippi on May 30, has pitched 7 2/3 innings in six relief appearances for the big club.
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez made the announcement after Sunday night’s 3-0 win over the Giants.
Wood will be starting in place of Brandon Beachy, who was scratched after developing elbow inflammation in his final minor league rehab assignment in his road back from Tommy John surgery.
Wood is no stranger to starting, as he made 23 minor league starts before being called up to the majors. This season at Mississippi he pitched a dominating 57 innings, as witnessed by his stellar 1.26 ERA. He struck out 57, while walking only 15.
Wood, who was selected in the second round of the 2012 Braves first year player draft, will face off against Mets’ phenom Matt Harvey, in what should be a fascinating match-up. When asked about the assignment, Wood said that it should be pretty fun and that he likes a challenge.
Wood hasn’t made a start in three weeks, but Fredi Gonzalez didn’t appearance concerned about that. “We’ll take it an inning at a time,” the Braves manager said. “He’s a guy that throws the ball over the plate. It hasn’t been that long since his last start.”
Wood didn’t seem concerned about his endurance while talking to reporters. He’s just excited to get the ball and have the opportunity to perform in his more familiar starting role.
“It’s one of those things where you’re still throwing,” the young lefty said. “Being in the bullpen is just a different kind of “in shape.” But at the same time, I’ve been starting for two months.”
In his 7 2/3 major league innings Wood has given up three runs on five hits and has struck out nine while walking four. He will bring a 3.52 ERA into the game.