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Catching up with ... Blake Wood

The start of Blake Wood's second minor league season was delayed three months by back problems. But the former Georgia Tech pitcher from North Gwinnett is quickly rounding back into form.

Wood, ranked as Kansas City's 14th-best prospect by Baseball America, has made three starts for the Royals' team in the Arizona Rookie League, allowing four hits and no runs over six innings. Most impressively, he has 10 strikeouts and no walks.

During his junior season at Georgia Tech, the right-hander was bothered by shin split. This spring, it was back problems that betrayed him. Expected to start the year in the Class A Midwest League, he instead spent the first half sidelined and has had to work himself back into shape.

The Royals still think they got a bargain in the 6-foot-4 Wood, who slipped to the third round in the 2006 draft. Signed for a bonus of $460,000, he made 12 starts for Idaho Falls of the rookie Pioneer League last season and was 3-1 with a 4.50 ERA.

Wood, 21, was 10-1 with a 3.13 ERA for Georgia Tech as a sophomore and 11-4 with a 4.79 ERA as a junior.