Alex Wood

Wood plans to establish A's winning culture on Opening Day

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Left-handed pitcher Alex Wood has high expectations for the Athletics during the 2024 MLB season while understanding Oakland’s recent history.

As a result, the A’s No. 1 starter aims to change the culture in Oakland as soon as possible.

In an exclusive interview with The Mercury News’ Jason Mastrodonato, Wood explained his desire to make the A’s competitive beginning on 2024 MLB Opening Day.

“I’ve been to a lot of places where I’ve been able to win,” Wood told Mastrodonato. “I want to set the example of what that looks like on a day-to-day basis and what goes into it, to have a winning culture and build a winning program.”

Wood won a World Series ring during the COVID-19-shortened 2020 MLB season as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers. 

When combining Wood’s stints with the Atlanta Braves, San Francisco Giants and the Dodgers, the lefty has made the MLB playoffs seven times during his 11-year MLB career. 

Wood signed a one-year free-agent A's contract with the intention of reaching the postseason for the eighth time in his career, despite what the expectations for Oakland might be.

“It’s funny because there are two separate things as far as expectations individually and as a team,” Wood added. “It doesn’t matter what team you’re on, what the expectations are. There’s pressure on every individual in this clubhouse to succeed, play well and solidify themselves in their own careers. 

“That helps to feed into where the team is heading.”

Wood comes to Oakland with a 76-65 record and 3.74 ERA in 1,218 2/3 career innings.

Wood knows how vulnerable the A’s rotation was in 2023, tying the most pitchers used (24) in MLB history.

He’s excited to help mentor Oakland’s younger pitchers while making life easier for manager Mark Kotsay.

“I think that we’re definitely going to be better than what people are expecting,” Wood emphasized. “We’ve been banged up a little bit but I think we’re going to play good baseball. "We’ve got some good arms, some good young position players. I think we’ll be super competitive.”

Wood has championship DNA. 

Hopefully for the Kotsay and Co., the 33-year-old Wood can help mold the A's, who have lost 214 games over the past two years, into a winner.

Wood will make his regular-season A's debut on Opening Day, taking the ball against the Cleveland Guardians at 7:07 p.m. PDT on Thursday at the Coliseum.

Then, he'll try to set the tone for a hopeful A's season.

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