Athens, GA - With the Major League Baseball regular season ending this past Sunday, most of the former Georgia Bulldogs in the professional ranks are looking ahead to 2014.
The lone exception is left-hander Alex Wood, who is expected to be a part of the Atlanta Braves bullpen when they begin a division series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday at Turner Field.
Wood, a second round pick of the Braves in 2012 from UGA, made his Major League debut this season and went 3-3 with a 3.13 ERA in 31 games including 11 starts. He posted a 0.90 ERA in five August starts with the Braves before moving to the bullpen in mid-September. Wood has logged 139.2 innings this season, 77.2 with the Braves and 62.0 in the minors where he registered a 5-2 mark and a 1.31 ERA. Wood was a part of a Braves team that amassed 96 wins and had the second best record in the National League.
Meanwhile in Chicago, a trio of former Bulldogs saw their 2013 season come to a close. Infielders Gordon Beckham and Jeff Keppinger were regular contributors for the White Sox. Beckham missed time with a wrist injury and eventually played in 103 games with 100 starts at second base. He hit .267 with five home runs, 22 doubles and 24 RBI. Keppinger was hampered by a shoulder injury towards the end of the season. He finished with a .253 average, 13 doubles, four home runs and 40 RBI in 117 games. Keppinger saw action around the infield with 41 starts at second base, 35 at third base and 14 at first base.
Pitcher Justin Grimm began the year with the Texas Rangers and wound up in the bullpen with the Chicago Cubs. Grimm enjoyed a torrid start in April with the Rangers, earning American League Rookie of the Month honors and then forearm tightness landed him in the bullpen. Ultimately, he went 7-7 with a 6.37 ERA in 17 starts before being traded to Chicago. He made 10 relief appearances for the Cubs and went 0-2 with a 2.00 ERA to finish the year 7-9 with a 5.97 ERA.
Like Grimm, pitcher Mitchell Boggs was traded during the season. He began the year in St. Louis, spent time in the minors, and then returned to the Major Leagues with Colorado. Boggs combined to go 0-3 with an 8.10 ERA and two saves in 27 games with the Cardinals and Rockies.
Pitcher Josh Fields completed his first season as a Major Leaguer with the youthful Houston Astros in 2013. Fields went five-for-six in save opportunities. In his final 10 outings, he collected three saves and had a 1.69 ERA. Overall, he went 1-3 with a 4.97 ERA in 41 appearances covering a span of 38 innings.
Wood and the Braves play host to the Dodgers Thursday on TBS. Game times for the NLDS have not been set. The best-of-five series features the first two games in Atlanta with game three in Los Angeles on Sunday, Oct. 6. If necessary, game four would be in Los Angeles on Monday, Oct. 7 and game five back in Atlanta on Wed., Oct. 9.