As far as memorable evenings go, this past Thursday ranked quite high for Alex Wood.
In his big-league debut with the Atlanta Braves, Wood needed just seven pitches in recording the final three outs of an 11-3 win over Toronto at Turner Field. He became the 36th former University of Georgia player to reach the major leagues, and he was not lacking for friends or family members in attendance.
"It was pretty special," the 6-foot-4, 215-pounder from Charlotte, N.C., said afterward. "When I walked out there, I heard some Dog fans barking and everyone cheering. It was a pretty neat moment. I wish everybody could experience the feeling I had tonight at some point in their lives."
Atlanta's gain, however, wound up being Chattanooga's loss, as Wood would have been pitching this week at AT&T Field.
The Class AA Mississippi Braves are making their only scheduled visit to AT&T this season for a five-game series that begins this afternoon at 5:15. Games Monday through Thursday will be at 7:15 p.m.
Wood had been excellent at Mississippi, going 4-2 with a 1.26 earned run average in 10 starts before last Thursday's promotion to aid Atlanta's injury-depleted bullpen. The left-hander entered this season as the No. 7 prospect in the Braves organization according to Baseball America, and his departure leaves Mississippi without its top performing arm.
Mississippi spent all of April with the touted pitching punch of Wood and J.R. Graham, who is on the disabled list with a right shoulder strain and is out this week. Graham, the No. 2 organizational prospect, is 1-3 with a 4.04 ERA in eight starts.
The lone top-10 organizational position player active right now for Mississippi is catcher Christian Bethancourt, who ranks No. 3. Bethancourt entered Saturday night's series finale against Montgomery hitting .272 with one home run and 11 RBIs in 29 games.
Mississippi will travel to Chattanooga with two former Lookouts, shortstop Jaime Pedroza and left fielder Kyle Russell. Going into Saturday night, Pedroza was batting .275 with four doubles and 16 RBIs in 45 games, while Russell was hitting .250 with four homers and 16 RBIs in 37 games.
Russell, a third-round pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2008, played 270 games for the Lookouts in the 2010-12 seasons, compiling 40 homers but striking out 326 times. He was released by the Dodgers in late March.
The Double-A Braves also possess third baseman Edward Salcedo, who as an 18-year-old received a $1.6 million signing bonus after agreeing to terms with Atlanta in 2010. He had yet to advance past Single-A ball until this year but has shown notable improvement, entering Saturday night hitting .290 with seven homers and 25 RBIs in 50 games.
Alcedo did not hit .250 in any of his three seasons in A ball.
Contact David Paschall at email@example.com or 423-757-6524.
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...
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