During a 19-minute pregame session with reporters that sounded at times like a job interview, Cubs manager Rick Renteria elaborated on the definition of leadership among his players. "One is on-field performance, which can breed confidence between the lines," Renteria said. "The other is experience, in terms of learning how to be a professional." After a 1-hour, 1-minute rain delay Monday night, left-hander Travis Wood showed he might qualify on both counts. In addition to pitching seven solid innings, Wood smacked a three-run home run and ripped an RBI double en route to a 5-1 win over the Diamondbacks. The Cubs would gladly welcome such a blend of success and leadership from Wood in the future — especially if they ultimately trade staff ace Jeff Samardzija. "He's another guy who is steady Eddie," Renteria said. "He's a guy who goes out and does his thing. He's been getting better every year.'' The Cubs have given Wood more chunks of responsibility after he was named to the 2013 National League All-Star team. Monday, Wood provided the bulk of the offense against Bronson Arroyo and a Diamondbacks pitching staff that has four on the disabled list. The Diamondbacks paid Wood the ultimate compliment when they pulled Arroyo and summoned veteran reliever J.J. Putz with the bases loaded and one out in the sixth to face Wood, who grounded into a double play. "It feels good that they respect you up there and that you're doing your job," Wood said. Wood struck out nine and blanked the Diamondbacks until Mark Trumbo launched a homer with one out in the seventh. Nevertheless, Wood's all-around performance gave the Cubs one less thing to worry about. Before the game, Renteria said Carlos Villanueva would stay in the rotation and make his next start Friday night in Milwaukee. The return of Jake Arrieta, however, remains uncertain. Arrieta, making his third minor league rehabilitation start, allowed three home runs at Clearwater but struck out seven in 52/3 innings for Class A Daytona. The Cubs are in a stretch in which they will play 30 games in 31 days, concluding May 18. That run will challenge their mettle, which Renteria addressed Friday with his players after a five-game losing streak.
Travis Wood's arm, bat lift Cubs over Diamondbacks 5-1
Chicago Tribune | Apr 22