It's never a good thing when the skipper walks to the mound, unless the manager is Terry Francona and he is meandering over to the bump to relay that you made the team.
Here is what Francona had to say about the brief exchange on the field he had with the 28-year-old, who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2012:
When I went to take him out, (catcher Luke) Carlin was coming and I told him to stay back there a little bit...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 the dugout but you could tell he was pretty excited.
Unfortunately, we couldn't spot any video of the poignant moment, but Twitter, thankfully, has an image of the meeting Wood will never forget, via Indians president Mark Shapiro:
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. pic.twitter.com/XKHVLA875F— Mark Shapiro (@MarkShapiro) March 28, 2014
Go ahead and stick that bad boy in your back pocket and bust it out on a rainy day, because it is just too wonderful.
As Northeast Ohio Media Group Indians beat writer Paul Hoynes reminds, "The Indians claimed Wood on waivers in 2012 after he had Tommy John surgery on his right elbow with the Royals." In the end, two more appearances during spring were enough to really welcome Wood into the fold.
There is hardly a more wonderful way to find out you made it into the bigs. The Akron Beacon Journal's Marla Ridenour provides a video of Wood explaining his feelings on making the Indians roster:
When asked about the team's patience, Wood offered, "It's meant a lot. Initially just giving me a chance is probably what I've been more appreciative of them than anything."
Reedy reports Francona had his phone on him in the dugout, staying in touch with general manager Chris Antonetti on the possibility of keeping Wood with the squad.
When Tito received word that Wood was on the team, he decided to do more than relieve his pitcher from the mound; he put any anxiety to rest as well.
The right-hander, in just 9.2 innings of work this spring, gave up just one earned run and six hits, according to Baseball Reference.
It's a small sample size, to be sure, but it was more than enough to convince Francona and Antonetti that Wood would be an asset from day one.
Hoynes reports that Wood will sit somewhere amid the eight pitchers the Indians will carry in the bullpen. With a brilliant fastball, don't expect Wood to get completely lost in the shuffle of arms.
However, with the likes of John Axford, Marc Rzepczynski, a hopefully classic Vinnie Pestano, as well as Cody Allen and Bryan Shaw, both of whom featured heavily last season, it's going to be tough to crack into the regular rotation. Then again, Wood understands challenges quite well.
Antonetti states, "He had great arm strength and when healthy we knew he was going to be an effective major league pitcher. We were trying to see that process through."
Wood's velocity is up, at times touching triple digits, and Francona, via Reedy, was gracious with his praise, "He not only got better but he got really good at it to the point where it is going to be hard to run on him because he is so quick."
Of course, the rookie is pleased with the results: "It has been a long road but I'm here now. You don't know what is going to happen coming back from major surgery. With the Indians sticking with me and giving me a shot, I'm happy they did that."
Beyond the remarkable recovery and the faith the Indians had in the hard-throwing kid coming off Tommy John surgery is the beautiful manner Francona chose to deliver the good news.
Getting ripped from the game has never felt so good.
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