Alex Wood

Ex-Giants pitcher Wood roughed up in A's spring training debut

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After three MLB seasons with the Giants, pitcher Alex Wood made his spring training debut with the team across the San Francisco Bay on Friday when he took the mound for the Athletics.

Wood pitched in an A's uniform for the first time in Surprise, Ariz., after signing a one-year, $8.5 million free-agent contract with Oakland in January -- but his Green and Gold debut didn't quite go to plan, with the 33-year-old surrendering two homers, four hits and three runs in two innings pitched against the Kansas City Royals.

"You never know how the first one is going to go,” Wood told reporters after Oakland's 5-4 loss (h/t's Martín Gallegos). “Obviously, you want to go scoreless and make a good first impression. But I thought my stuff was all right, just a little erratic command. Overall, I’m glad to get the first one out of the way.”

Both Salvador Perez and Bobby Witt Jr. homered off Wood in the first and third innings, respectively, but the left-hander also struck out MJ Melendez and Tyler Gentry while issuing one walk.

After signing with the A's, Wood told the San Francisco Chronicle's John Shea that certainty about his role in Oakland was a main deciding factor, having spent time in and out of the Giants' rotation last season -- a situation he described to Shea as "difficult." Wood finished the 2023 MLB season with a 4.33 ERA and 1.433 WHIP in 12 starts and 17 relief appearances.

With the A's, Wood joins a rotation that features JP Sears, Ken Waldichuk, Luis Medina, Paul Blackburn and the rising Joe Boyle, among others. He had third-year catcher Shea Langeliers behind the dish Friday, whom he'll look to build rapport with this spring while also seeking to improve his sinker during Cactus League play.

“I’m trying to figure out the shape of [my slider],” Wood said. “It’s easier in bullpens to be able to manipulate shape. A sim game might not be quite as similar as it will be to a real game, so we’ll get all the numbers from today back tomorrow and see where the shape of my slider is at, and really all my pitch profiles and figure out where we go from there.”

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