Cubs and Wood try to put 2014 behind them

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Cubs coaches Henry Blanco, left, and Brandon Hyde watch spring training drills Sunday in Mesa, Arizona.

      Cubs coaches Henry Blanco, left, and Brandon Hyde watch spring training drills Sunday in Mesa, Arizona. BRUCE MILES | Staff Photographer

  • Cubs starter Travis Wood needs a solid spring to earn the fifth spot in the starting rotation. He says he's not concerned about any trade rumors.

    Cubs starter Travis Wood needs a solid spring to earn the fifth spot in the starting rotation. He says he's not concerned about any trade rumors. Associated Press/July 2014

 
 
Updated 2/22/2015 6:47 PM

MESA, Ariz. -- Travis Wood has heard all the trade rumors surrounding his name.

But here Wood is in Cubs camp, getting ready for the 2015 season.

 

"If I get traded, I get traded," the left-hander said Sunday. "It's part of the business. If it helps the team, it helps the team. It's part of the business. I don't really look too much into it."

After an all-star season in 2013, Wood had a 2014 to forget at 8-13 with a 5.03 ERA.

"Last year was a big learning year," he said. "I always say you learn a lot more when you fail than you do when you succeed because you see your flaws better. Yeah, I kind of took into '14, 'I've got it, I know how to do it,' and it was a humbling experience last year. But you've never got it in this game. There's always something to work on.

"You can say I was just missing. You can say it was mechanics. But I just chalked it up to a bad year and moved on. It's time to go."

As it stands, Wood is the fifth starter behind Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta, Jason Hammel and Kyle Hendricks. And he'll have to battle for a spot with Jacob Turner, Felix Doubront and perhaps youngsters Eric Jokisch and Dallas Beeler.

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"Wherever I fit in, really," Wood said. "I'm not thinking about anything other than going out and getting ready for the season and getting my pitches ready, getting stretched out and healthy."

Manager Joe Maddon says he'll keep an open mind.

"We went through the meeting with him," Maddon said. "Just a very likable guy, initially, a great teammate also. I don't have a strong sense of what happened last year. During the meeting, we pretty much just talked about letting that in the past and having him just come to 2015 and start over. I know he had a really good year a couple years ago. You look at the numbers. They're pretty good. I don't have any strong opinions."

First casualty of spring:

Left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada is the lone known injury concern for the Cubs. Joe Maddon said Wada is suffering from hamstring tightness.

"Wada has a little bit of a lower-body issue," Maddon said. "I'm going hockey. I really like hockey. Hockey's really got it down. It's a little bit of tightness in his leg. It's nothing debilitating."

Totally liking his catchers:

Joe Maddon says he likes what he sees from catchers Miguel Montero, Welington Castillo and David Ross.

"You look at those three guys side by side by side, that's pretty impressive," Maddon said. "You get three catchers like that in the same area code, that's pretty good."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Maddon also seems to like the intellect of Montero.

"Conversationally, this guy is a really bright guy. He uses adverbs when he speaks. I was really impressed with that. Not many people use adverbs all the time. And he's really into the sports-psychology component of the game. He really gets all of that stuff. He's got strong opinions on pitcher-catcher relationships, how to call a game. He's well thought out."

Does Montero end his adverbs in "ly"?

"He does," Maddon said. "He's an 'ly' guy. I'm really impressed with that."

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