The Atlanta Braves have the (very) rare problem of having too many starting pitchers that are performing well, and as a result, the team has elected to shift left-hander Alex Wood to the bullpen for portions of the 2014 season. However, the Braves were scheduled to have Wood start on Saturday against the St. Louis Cardinals, but that changed with an announcement by manager Fredi Gonzalez on Wednesday afternoon.
#Braves change in plans — Wood staying in pen this weekend and Harang moves up to start Saturday, Floyd Sunday
— David O’Brien (@ajcbraves) May 14, 2014
David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Atlanta will utilize a more “normal”, 5-man rotation that includes Aaron Harang and Gavin Floyd over the weekend, leaving Wood in what is presumably a high-leverage role in the bullpen. The 23-year-old left-hander has already made two relief appearances since being removed from the rotation, and in total, Wood has compiled a strong season that includes a 2.87 ERA and a strikeout rate of 9.19 K’s per 9 innings.
This is a curious decision by the Braves, simply because Alex Wood is arguably their best young arm (the argument consists of Wood, Julio Teheran and Mike Minor), and it seems wasteful to leave him in relief. However, there could be a method to Atlanta’s madness if they can keep his innings down in order to preserve him for a playoff run. Stay tuned.