Alex Wood

Kotsay explains why Wood will be A's Opening Day starter

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Alex Wood will start his first career MLB Opening Day for the Athletics at the Oakland Coliseum on March 28 against right-handed pitcher Shane Bieber and the Cleveland Guardians. 

A’s manager Mark Kotsay believes Wood, entering his 12th year in the big leagues, deserves to lead Oakland’s young rotation to begin the 2024 MLB season.

“It was awesome telling Alex,” Kotsay said Tuesday (h/t’s Martín Gallegos). “You could see the emotion that he was feeling. He’s been on rosters to be able to do it for the last 11 years, so it was great to reward him. We targeted him this offseason. He wanted to come here and pitch. Everything just felt right about this.”

In late January, the A’s signed Wood to a one-year, $8.5 million free-agent contract, hoping the two parties could get the most out of each other while paving the way for Oakland’s younger players.

Kotsay and Wood are eager to help develop Oakland’s younger pitchers like Joe Doyle, Mitch Spence and Kyle Muller, per Gallegos, and confidently aspire to lead the A’s to a more competitive standing.

“We’ve got three veteran guys in this rotation along with JP [Sears], who made 32 starts last year,” Kotsay stated. “We’re in a better spot than we were last year.”

Wood proudly will start the A’s’ season after having a shaky spring, but the lefty's heavy experience leaves Kotsay feeling confident.

The 33-year-old veteran comes to Oakland having spent the past three years across the Bay with the San Francisco Giants, where he finished with an overall 23-21 record and a 4.41 ERA, tossing 367.0 innings over 81 games.

Wood also was an MLB All-Star for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2017, adding to Kotsay’s excitement to hand him the Opening Day reigns.

“I’ve watched him pitch from afar, and you know how competitive he is,” Kotsay said. “You know the drive he has. We’re going to see that from Day One. It can be infectious on everyone.”

Wood is hopeful to get the A’s off to a good start. But he’s also grateful to add another “first” to his résumé.

“The longer you go, there’s not usually a lot of firsts left to be had after so many years,” Wood emphasized on Tuesday (h/t Gallegos). “There’s nothing cooler than to be able to go out there and throw in the first game of the year for your team. It’s just a big honor, and I’m super, super excited.”

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