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Giants' Wood to see back specialist, in doubt for Opening Day

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Alex Wood, Giants

The Giants built starting depth late in the offseason in anticipation of needing it to get through 162 games following a shortened season. It appears they'll need it right away. 

Manager Gabe Kapler said left-hander Alex Wood will see a spine specialist because of back stiffness that has sidelined him in recent days. While Kapler said he wanted to wait for more information before making definitive statements, he did admit that the Giants were "not going to see him pitch in the next few days," a setback this late in the spring. The Giants are just 17 days from their opener in Seattle. 

It's normal for players to deal with back issues during camp as they get used to being in the swing of things, but there's a bit more concern with Wood because of his history. His back flared up the second week of March in 2019, and he ended up on the injured list throughout that season's first half. Wood did not make his Reds debut until July 28 of that season and ended up making just seven starts. 

Kapler said he wasn't sure how this instance compared to 2019, but it's likely he'll have to start the season without his only left-handed starter. He called both Aaron Sanchez and Logan Webb strong candidates to be on the opening day roster as starters, joining Kevin Gausman, Johnny Cueto and Anthony DeSclafani.

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"I think it probably makes sense to -- before we make any plans -- to see what (Wood's) doctor visit tells us, the visit with the spine specialist," Kapler said. "But I think we have Gausman, Cueto, DeSclafani, Sanchez and Webb as five great rotation options and we also have some off days early on and there are lots of ways to be creative at this point."

 

The Giants have three off days over the season's first 15 days, so they don't necessarily need a fifth starter early on. Sanchez got a late start in camp after signing after camp started, but he threw a three-inning simulated game over the weekend and will make his Cactus League debut this week. Webb has been a revelation this spring and has 10 strikeouts in six shutout innings thus far. 

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