When Tim Wood made a trip out to California this past offseason to visit teammate Ryan Tucker, he returned home with a new and rather large tattoo on his left arm. The artwork, drawn freehand by a close friend of Tucker's, featured three baby angels and a message: Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil.
The 27-year old reliever is hoping it provides him with a little luck this camp. Wood is going to need it. Basically, the 6-1, 181-pound right-hander who got his first taste of the big leagues a year ago, is in a battle with 13 other guys for four bullpen slots.
A year ago, he was called up by the Marlins on four different occasions and finished the year on the staff with a 2.82 ERA, 1.43 WHIP in 22 1/3 innings and 18 appearances. Next to Brian Sanches, who is expected to be this year's setup man, Wood turned out to be arguably the best bullpen arm added to the staff after the start of the season. But now, after the Marlins went out and signed Mike MacDougal, Seth McClung and Jose Veras (who finally arrived to camp Friday), Wood finds himself on the outside looking in and having to prove himself once again.
"I feel strong. My arm feels really good, body feels really good -- these games can't come soon enough," said Wood, a 44th round pick who spent 2 1/2 of his first four years in the system out with elbow and shoulder injuries. "[Manager] Fredi [Gonzalez] is going to take the best relievers he has, whether they're right handed, left handed or throw with both hands. He's going to take the best guys he feels he can win with. I strongly support that. It's what you have to do."
Still, that doesn't mean Wood doesn't want to make the team badly. He said he arrived in Jupiter on Jan. 1 and has been working out at the complex daily. The Marlins, he said, asked him to put on more weight (he added seven pounds) and work on his secondary pitches, a changeup and slider. He feels the changeup has gotten a lot better.
"Getting here is the easy part," Wood said. "But I want to stay. I want to do everything I can to make it happen. It's going to be a competitive camp. Now, I just have to go out there and do what I can do, get people out."
WEATHER MAN: Manager Fredi Gonzalez likes to have a little fun with the media every now and then with a little sarcasm. His best line from Thursday involved complimenting camp coordinator Carlos Tosca and his penchant for bringing in "great weather" for the first three days of full squad workouts.
"I don't know if you guys are baseball people or not, but Carlos Tosca -- this guy is good," Gonzalez said. "He goes out there [Wednesday], brings in the rain. We're going to play in the rain during the year. So, he brings in the rain just enough to let the guys know we're going to have to work through the rain through the course of the year. And then [Thursday] we have fly ball priority. So, he brings in the wind, the sun and no clouds. Perfect conditions for flyballs. [Friday] its going to get a little colder. We open in New York in April, so I mean this guy is unbelievable. He's got some pull."
WEDDING BELLS: Turns out there were at least three Marlins who said "I do" this offseason. Pitcher Andrew Miller, 24, said he tied the knot with his high school sweetheart, a Duke graduate, in a small ceremony on Amelia Island near Jacksonville. Miller, who went to North Carolina, joined first baseman Gaby Sanchez, 26, and reliever Dan Meyer, 28, as the recently married Marlins.