Grady Wood Reactivated, Joins Birds Bullpen
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- For a while, it looked like Grady Wood's season could have been over. After making five starts in his return to the Birds' rotation, an injury sidelined one of the longest-tenured members of the Birds' clubhouse in July.
But after a month of rehab, the Birds' pitching coach is returning to the active roster, adding a dynamic piece to the Canaries' bullpen before a crucial road series at St. Paul.
Wood recorded a 5.19 ERA in his start to the 2020 season after earning the No. 2 spot in the Birds' rotation out of spring camp. Back pain sidelined him after a start on July 29, but Wood made quick progress in rehab and began throwing batting practice before games. The BP sessions turned into pain-free bullpens that impressed Birds coaches, earning Wood the spot on the active roster.
The right-hander is expected to stay in the Birds' bullpen for the remainder of the 2020 season, using his unusual sidearm delivery and devastating slider to throw hitters off-balance late in games.
Wood, 30, was a 10th-round draft pick by the Seattle Mariners in 2012. Wood spent four seasons in the Mariners' system before moving to independent baseball, reaching as high as Double-A Jackson in 2015. The right-hander owns a 3.62 career ERA in the minors.
Wood put together one of the best pitching performances in team history in 2017, leading Sioux Falls with a 2.71 ERA and 117 strikeouts. Those numbers ranked fourth and fifth in the American Association, respectively. He also led the Birds with a 1.00 WHIP and a 4.88 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Wood made four starts with Sioux Falls in 2018, but missed the rest of that season and 2019 after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
The Canaries, a half-game out of a playoff spot in the American Association, face off against the St. Paul Saints for a three-game series in St. Paul Friday through Sunday. They have three home games left in the regular season, a Labor Day weekend series with the Chicago Dogs. The series starts Friday, September 4 at 7:05 p.m. with Sioux Falls Pride Night. Birds fans can get tickets at sfcanaries.com.