Wells getting traction in rotation race

MESA, Ariz. – While Randy Wells helped himself in the spring-training rotation derby Wednesday, Travis Wood went in the opposite direction.

Wells went three scoreless innings as the starter before giving way to Wood, who managed to get one out, but gave up six runs (five earned) in the fourth inning before he was pulled.

Wood’s outing appeared to thin the pool of potential starters by one, adding credence to the concept that you can’t win a rotation spot after two spring outings but you could probably lose one.

“It’s typical to say it’s early and you’re working out all of the kinks but it’s time to go,” Wood said. “I still have three or four starts left and I have to show what I can do then.”

On Friday against the White Sox, Wells and Wood had their roles reversed, but the results were still similar. Wood started that day and gave up six runs on six hits and two walks in 2 1/3 innings. Wells didn’t give up a run over 2 2/3 innings.

“I feel good, the arm feels great, I feel healthy,” Wood said. “It’s just time to really get after it.”

Despite the strong outing, Wells wasn’t trying to make too much of it. He stressed that he still has work to do.

“I didn’t throw a whole lot of breaking stuff,” Wells said. “I really worked on my fastball command, my sinker and was able to get ground balls. When I did get guys on I was able to get a ground ball and that’s the one thing I’m taking away from today. I have some stuff to work on – the changeup, the slider – but each outing the slider’s getting better. The changeup, I don’t have a feel for now but that will be the focus of my next side session.”

With a stretch of four split-squad games on the schedule over a six-day stretch starting Thursday, the Cubs have plenty of starts to hand out in an attempt to further define the rotation.