In another potential blow to his bid for the fifth spot in the starting rotation, Chicago Cubs’ left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada left his start on Friday with what was labeled “left groin tightness.”
The southpaw, who broke onto the big league scene last season with the Cubs, retired the first pair of Cleveland Indians’ batters he faced in his outing Friday, before catcher Yan Gomes unloaded on a pitch for a long solo home run. After that, the training staff came out to the mount and Wada was immediately removed from the contest.
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The team doesn’t believe the injury to be anything substantial – saying that Wada will be re-evaluated in the coming days – but yet another step back for the veteran does nothing to help him convince Joe Maddon he’s the man for the fifth spot.
Already considered a long-shot behind Edwin Jackson and Travis Wood, the 34-year-old Japanese native has battled numerous injuries to that same leg this spring, including a hamstring issue early on in camp.
Last season with the Cubs, Wada pitched well down the stretch, making 13 starts for Chicago, compiling a 3.25 ERA, 1.240 WHIP and 3.75 FIP in the process. This offseason, he decided to come back on a one-year, $4 million deal – adding depth to the starting ranks.
With Jacob Turner already sidelined with an injury, the competition for that fifth starting spot continues to whittle itself down as spring wears on. With just over three weeks until Opening Night, it appears now more than ever that either Wood or Jackson will get the nod – as has been the belief for most of the year.