Dodgers pitcher Alex Wood gets another chance to audition for starting rotation

In the summer before his junior year of high school, Alex Wood sat at a computer and composed a series of emails. He addressed them to the coaches at the 15 to 20 colleges where he wanted to play baseball. He was a gangly left-hander from Charlotte, N.C., with a goofy delivery, but he exhibited enough confidence to showcase himself.

One of the respondents was David Perno, who ran the baseball program at the University of Georgia. Perno went to see Wood at a showcase event that fall. The mechanics looked strange, and Wood’s mien was “non-athletic,” Perno recalled. On the mound, though, he turned ferocious.

“He was like a quiet assassin,” Perno said. “There wasn’t a lot of emotion. But you could see it in his eyes, in his demeanor.… He was going to be better than you that day.”

Wood carried that attitude through three years at Georgia. He still harbors it in his role as the most malleable member of the Dodgers pitching staff in 2017. He feels compelled to prove himself, and on a team as deep as these Dodgers (8-8), that quality is indispensable.

Wood (1-0, 1.00 earned-run average) will make his second start of the season Friday in Arizona. He is auditioning for a job he may not be able to win — at least not permanently. The uncertainty with Rich Hill’s blister created an opening for Wood. But the Dodgers do not expect Hill to miss the entirety of the season, and Manager Dave Roberts has mentioned Julio Urias’ impending arrival in late April.

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