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March 12, 2010

Former Big Leaguer Finds a New Home

I know it doesn't fit The Hall's niche, but if I fail to talk about the team playing in my backyard...I feel as though I might as well check my fandom at the door.

That being said, the Rockford Riverhawks have signed their second former Major Leaguer to a deal.

Back in January, the 2004 Frontier League Champion Riverhawks (they're now in the Northern League), inked slugger Randall Simon and was pitcher Mike Wood.

Wood is a five-year big league veteran (having played with Oakland, Kansas City and Texas) and if you listen to RiverHawks co-owner and director of baseball operations Dave Ciarrachi...he's got the stuff to make it back to the show.

“There is every possibility that if he throws well for us, he could sign a major-league contract and move right back up,” Ciarrachi said. “To get a guy who has pitched as many years as he has in the big leagues is a real plus for us."

Wood said this was the first time in his career he didn’t have at least a spring-training invitation from a Major League team.

“It’s new to me (in) ten years playing ball, but I’m excited to be with a team again,” he said. “I’m going to give it all I’ve got for this team.”

Wood was the A’s tenth-round pick out of the University of North Florida in 2001 and after pitching in just seven games for them in 2003...was dealt to the Royals. The Rangers picked Wood up off waivers following the 2006 season and used him primarily out of the bullpen. In 115 major-league appearances, Wood is 16-22 with a 5.49 earned-run average and two saves.

In 2008, he spent the season in Japan’s Central League with the Yokohama BayStars, where he was 3-12 with a 4.69 ERA in 26 starts. Last year, Wood was back in Triple-A and in ten combined appearances with Florida’s New Orleans affiliate and the Rangers’ Oklahoma City farm club, both in the Pacific Coast League, Wood was 0-2 with a 9.49 ERA and one save.

Wood has earned at least 10 wins in four of his nine professional seasons. In 104 minor-league appearances, Wood is 49-22 with a 3.41 ERA and a save. In 1,039 2/3 total innings among the majors, minors and Japan, he has walked just 306 batters and struck out 656.

An interesting sidenote...the first two outs that Wood recorded were both strikeouts. He got both Nomar Garciaparra and Manny Ramirez to go down swinging in consecutive at bats.

Not a shabby debut.

BallHype: hype it up!

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