PHOENIX, Ariz. — At some point, it will just come down to simple numbers in a bid for the final rotation spots on the Cubs.
Barring any health issues, it's easy enough to pencil in Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester and John Lackey atop the rotation with Jason Hammel and Kyle Hendricks claiming the last two spots.
Adam Warren, Travis Wood, Trevor Cahill and Clayton Richard are all being stretched out this spring and have track records as starters, but they also all have recent success as relievers, with the latter three starring for the Cubs late in 2015.
Travis Wood, however, refuses to prepare any other way but as a starting pitcher this spring.
He got the nod to start the Cubs' Cactus League opener Thursday, allowing the first batter of the game to score and picking up the decision in a 2-1 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.
Wood came to the 2015 camp as a starting pitcher before moving to the bullpen mid-season.
"It's not really [different this spring]," Wood said. "As far as a mindset, it's the same and everything. And as far as what they've told me, I'm going about the thing how I've always gone about it and we'll see what happens in the end."
Wood said he still considers himself a starter long-term and got paid like one over the winter when he inked a one-year, $6.18 million deal with the team avoiding arbitration.
But he struggled as a starter last season, posting a 5.06 ERA and 1.29 WHIP in nine starts. He excelled as a reliever with a 2.95 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and averaged 11 strikeouts per nine innings, even picking up the first four saves of his career.
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Wood insists he's going to be ready to go with whatever role the Cubs decide, but still prepared for the winter like he was going to pitch 200 innings this season.
"I just got to know him last year for the first time and Travis knows how I feel about him," manager Joe Maddon said. "Of course, Theo [Epstein] and Jed [Hoyer] feel the same way about him. I'm certain there's a part of him that wants to be a starter even if he's not going to concede it or say it loudly.
"But he also understands what a great job he did last year and the longevity in the game and the ability to take care of his family for many years just by doing what he's doing right now. And why not do it here? He's well-liked, he knows he's respected. I think we utilized him properly last year.
"I love having Travis back and he knows it. I think he's gonna get better because he has a better understanding of what's going on. He's a better pitcher. He knows himself better. I'm very excited to have him."