GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) — The Cincinnati Reds expect left-hander Alex Wood to open the season on the injured list as he recovers from a sore back that has limited him during spring training.
Wood was part of the trade that brought outfielders Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp to Cincinnati from the Los Angeles Dodgers. He made one spring training start before his back tightened, and had a setback when he resumed throwing last week.
Reds manager David Bell said Monday that it's likely Wood will miss the first couple weeks of the season as he tries to catch up.
"It will be mid-April, if everything is perfect," Bell said.
Bell and his staff haven't decided whether Wood will stay in Goodyear for extended spring or bring him to Cincinnati to continue his throwing. The Reds open the season March 28 at Great American Ball Park against the Pirates.
Right-hander Tyler Mahle, who was one of five rookies on last year's opening day roster, is the likely replacement in the rotation. Mahle made 23 starts for Cincinnati last season before being sent to Triple-A in August. He returned after the minor league season ended, making one appearance on Sept. 4 before shutting down with a shoulder fatigue. He finished with a 7-9 record and a 4.98 ERA.
Asked if Mahle is the likely fill-in for Wood, Bell said: "He's right there, definitely. Even before we came into the spring, we knew how important he was to this team, so yeah he's right there."
The Reds overhauled their rotation with three offseason trades as they try to end a streak of four straight 90-loss seasons. They also added Sonny Gray from the Yankees and Tanner Roark from the Nationals. Anthony DeSclafani and Luis Castillo are the holdovers from last season.