Wood, longest-tenured Cub, savoring '16 season

Wood, longest-tenured Cub, savoring '16 season

CHICAGO -- Travis Wood is the longest-tenured Cub, joining the team in 2011 when the pitcher was acquired from the Reds along with Dave Sappelt and Ronald Torreyes for reliever Sean Marshall. In Wood's first season, 2012, the Cubs lost 101 games. This year, the Cubs were on pace for more than 100 wins.

"We've definitely come a long ways from when I got here in '12," said Wood, who has gone from the rotation to the bullpen over that stretch. "Me and [Anthony Rizzo] are the only guys I remember from the start, and other than that, there are all new faces."

The Cubs acquired Rizzo from the Padres in January 2012.

Wood was eagerly waiting to see what this year's Cubs team will do.

"I've lost 100 before, but I've never won 100," Wood said. "I hope we can get there."

• Cubs reliever Pedro Strop, on the disabled list since Aug. 11 with a torn meniscus in his left knee, threw a bullpen session for the first time on Thursday. The Cubs are hoping he can be activated in time to get five or six appearances during the regular season.

• The Cubs named outfielder Eloy Jimenez and right-handed pitcher Trevor Clifton the organization's Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year, respectively. The two prospects will be honored at Wrigley Field prior to the Sept. 23 game against the Cardinals.

Jimenez, 19 and the Cubs' No. 2 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com, was named the Midwest League Most Valuable Player and Prospect of the Year after batting .329 with 40 doubles, three triples, 14 homers, 65 runs scored and 81 RBIs in 112 games with Class A Advanced South Bend. He led the league in doubles, slugging percentage (.532) and OPS (.901), ranked second in RBIs and total bases (230) and ranked third in batting average. He also led all Cubs Minor Leaguers in average and was second in RBIs.

Clifton, 21, went 7-7 with a 2.72 ERA in 23 starts with Class A Myrtle Beach, earning Carolina League Pitcher of the Year honors. He led all Cubs' Minor Leaguers, and ranked third in the Carolina League, with 129 strikeouts in 119 innings pitched. He was named as both a Carolina League mid-season and post-season All-Star, leading the league in ERA and WHIP (1.16).

Clifton made two postseason starts with Myrtle Beach, allowing one run over 12 innings, including six scoreless innings in Game 3 of the Mills Cup Championship Series on Tuesday.

A 12th-round Draft pick in 2013, he is ranked as the eighth-best prospect in the Cubs' organization by MLBPipeline.com.

• Who does Cubs manager Joe Maddon think about when he's had teams secure postseason spots? It's the coaches.

"When you get to that particular moment, I look at the coaching staff," Maddon said Thursday. "Having been a Minor League grunt and a Major League grunt for many years, it really impacts the lives of the coaches. ... I was that guy, and I know how it paid for my daughter's wedding in 2002. Otherwise, Sarah would not have had the wedding she had. It really matters, and it matters to that group of people."

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.