Results tagged ‘ Kerry Wood ’

4/5 No excuses

Kerry Wood did check the video replay of the pitches he threw in the eighth and had no complaints. Wood took over for Ryan Dempster with the Cubs leading, 1-0, on Opening Day. The Nationals had one on and two outs.

Wood walked the next two batters to load the bases, then walked Jayson Werth to drive in the game-tying run. The questionable call came on an 0-2 pitch to Werth.

“[Catcher Geovany Soto] set up off the plate,” Wood said of the pitch. “It was a purpose pitch — either get him to chase it or get a [strike out] there. I don’t think [DeMuth] missed anything that cost us.”

In the Nationals ninth, Chad Tracy doubled off the right field wall off Carlos Marmol and pinch-runner Brett Carroll then scored on Ian Desmond’s single.

“He took advantage of a good pitch and it dropped,” Marmol said.

When asked if this was like last year, Marmol quickly said, no.

“Last year is over,” Marmol said. “This is a new year. Next question.”

Wood, the elder statesmen on the team, beginning his 12th season, didn’t blame the wind or cold or the light work load this spring. He threw 25 pitches on Thursday to four batters. In his last three spring outings, he threw a total of 22 pitches.

“It’s probably the best Opening Day conditions I’ve been part of in awhile,” Wood said. “No excuses. I didn’t get it done today.”

— Carrie Muskat

4/2 Cubs 8, Diamondbacks 3

What went right:

Kerry Wood needed just 11 pitches to get through the fifth inning Monday, striking out the first batter he faced. It was his final spring outing and he retired the side in the fifth and picked up the win in relief. Manager Dale Sveum predicted pre-game an 11-pitch outing. Wood will leave Arizona with five innings total. The Cubs hope that’s enough.

“[We’re] just a little more patient this year,” Wood said. “We get here [to camp] and we’re excited to be around the guys and next thing you know, six days later, we’re facing hitters. We backed it off a little bit.”

At 34 and entering his 15th season, Wood should know how to prepare. His 2011 season ended early because of a torn meniscus in his left knee but that hasn’t slowed him. The light workload may be more preventative than anything else.

“I feel good, my body feels ready to go,” Wood said. “Counting back stuff and side stuff, I’ve been off the mound enough.”

He said his command has been good, he’s been able to throw his cutter to both sides of the plate and just needs to fine tune his curve.

* In the game, Alfonso Soriano, Jeff Baker and Geovany Soto each had two RBIs, with Soto’s coming on his fourth home run.

What went wrong:

Jay Jackson had a 2-0 lead, then gave up three runs on five hits over four innings. He’ll open the season at Triple-A Iowa.


“It’s coming along. Sometimes it’s a process for people. Sometimes they look too deep into things, especially veteran players in Spring Training. it’s just wait and see what happens during the season. I know Rudy [Jaramillo] and he have talked. It’s been interesting actually. It could be a huge impact on why the numbers haven’t been there the last year.” — Dale Sveum on David DeJesus, who was batting .207 this spring.

Injury report:

* Bryan LaHair was expected to play Tuesday in the Cactus League finale against the Brewers. He has not played since Friday because of tightness in his back. Milwaukee also has a night game Tuesday, so most of the squad will be from the Double-A Huntsville roster.

* Marcos Mateo continues to rehab from right elbow soreness. He will not be ready for Opening Day.

This and that:

* Jeff Samardzija tuned up for the regular season by throwing four scoreless innings at the Cubs Minor League camp. He is scheduled to start April 8 against the Nationals at Wrigley Field.

* The competition for the final bullpen spots is coming down to the wire. There are eight relievers for seven spots. Carlos Marmol, Kerry Wood and James Russell are set and Rodrigo Lopez appears to be the long man. Others to be considered include Rafael Dolis, Lendy Castillo, Manuel Corpas and Shawn Camp.

Camp threw Sunday against the Angels and had a better outing, Sveum said.

“Guys like him, they have to stay out of the middle of the plate and keep the ball down otherwise their stuff doesn’t allow them to be in the middle of the plate up,” Sveum said. “He makes the ball go sideways, but he has to be down because his velocity is only 88 miles an hour.”

Up next:

Travis Wood, who will open the season at Triple-A Iowa, will close the Cactus League action on Tuesday against the Brewers. Tuesday’s game will start one hour earlier at 12:05 p.m. Arizona time and be broadcast on WGN Radio. The lineup will be a preview of Opening Day with DeJesus in right, Darwin Barney at second, Starlin Castro at short, LaHair at first, Alfonso Soriano in left, Ian Stewart at third, Marlon Byrd in center, and Geovany Soto catching. The Cubs will use a DH and Reed Johnson was slated to start.

— Carrie Muskat 

3/29 Kerry Wood’s quick work

Kerry Wood pitched Thursday for the first time since May 18, and threw five pitches and that was enough. The right-hander entered the Cubs game in the fifth with one on and two outs, threw five pitches to James Darnell and struck him out. That was enough. As Wood came off the field in Peoria, he got a fist pump from pitching coach Chris Bosio and a handshake from manager Dale Sveum. Wood was expected to pitch two more times before the Cubs break camp.

— Carrie Muskat

3/26 Cubs 2, Padres 0; Dbacks 3, Cubs 2

What went right:

Paul Maholm struck out six over five scoreless innings against the Padres in Mesa. Carlos Marmol, pitching in his first game since March 20, gave up one hit, walked one and struck out one in one inning. Bryan LaHair, who had five hits in his last six at-bats, hit a RBI double in the first. In Scottsdale, Blake DeWitt was 2-for-4 with a double while Scott Maine walked two and struck out one in one inning.

What went wrong:

Cubs missed a chance in the second when they loaded bases with two outs and Padres pitcher Tim Stauffer got Starlin Castro to fly out. Castro did draw a walk in the first, his first this spring, and doubled in the fifth.


“I just want to stay where I’m at. I want to stay consistent with the breaking ball. I’ve had a good spring working on that, probably more than I have normally in Spring Training, and just command. You need to have a second pitch and have command of your fastball when you break camp. I’m trying to be fresh for the start of the year.” — Kerry Wood on his spring game plan


* The Cubs acquired right-handed reliever Shawn Camp, who was released by the Mariners on March 21. He may not be the only pitcher added before the regular season begins. The Cubs are looking at other options for the bullpen. Rafael Dolis could make the team. He picked up the save in Mesa and Dale Sveum has raved about his stuff this spring. Earlier this spring, the Cubs claimed Frankie De La Cruz off waivers from the Brewers. They may not be done as far as they try to find a workable bullpen.

Trever Miller was released on Monday, which left James Russell and Scott Maine as the only left-handed relievers still in camp. At least one of them will stay. Marmol and Kerry Wood are set, which would leave four openings. Lendy Castillo, 22, the Rule 5 pickup who is a converted shortstop, has a 3.12 ERA in eight appearances and has shown a lot of poise for a pitcher who last season was on a Class A roster in only his second season of pitching. Casey Coleman pitched well Monday against the Padres, giving up one hit and striking out two over two innings of relief. He could be the long man. So could Rodrigo Lopez if he’s not in the rotation.

* Kerry Wood is slated to pitch Saturday. It’s been his plan to cut back on Cactus League innings to prepare for the regular season.

Up next:

Matt Garza will make his fifth spring start on Tuesday when the Cubs travel to Goodyear to face the Reds. Garza did not give up an earned run over five innings in his last outing, and has eight strikeouts over 12 1/3 innings. The game will be broadcast on

— Carrie Muskat

3/26 Wood doing OK on his schedule

Kerry Wood was scheduled to pitch on Saturday and will have at least one more tune-up before the regular season starts. That’s all the Cubs right-hander apparently needs.

“I know what I need to get ready,” Wood said Monday. “We talked and the number was eight to 10 innings before camp started. I’ve done plenty of throwing. It’s just getting comfortable with secondary pitches.”

Last year, Wood totaled nine innings in nine Cactus League games and in the last six years, has pitched in as many as 12 2/3 innings in ’08 when he was the team’s closer. But this spring, the team decided to slow things down. So far, he’s appeared in four games for a total of 3 1/3 innings. The only time Wood has thrown less than six innings in Spring Training in the last six years was in 2007 when he reached five, then was shutdown and began the season on the disabled list with right shoulder tendinitis, and also in 2010 when he suffered a strained right lat after two innings in two games.

“I really just slowed it down,” Wood said of this spring. “I got off to such a fast start and I wanted to time it so we’re ready to roll when the season starts. I’ve got three, or four outings planned down the stretch and I’ll be ready for Opening Day.”

He did have some back spasms but that was before the Cactus League season began.

“I just want to stay where I’m at,” Wood said. “I want to stay consistent with the breaking ball. I’ve had a good spring working on that, probably more than I have normally in Spring Training, and just command. You need to have a second pitch and have command of your fastball when you break camp. I’m trying to be fresh for the start of the year.”

— Carrie Muskat

3/25 Marmol, Wood updates

Carlos Marmol, pulled from a game last week because of cramps in his right hand, was scheduled to throw on Monday for the Cubs, while his main set-up pitcher, Kerry Wood, will get likely get two more appearances in spring games before the regular season begins. Marmol was lifted from a game last Tuesday and underwent an MRI, which revealed no significant nerve injury. The Cubs closer felt some tightness in his neck and shoulders as well. Wood had some back problems early in spring, pitched in four games and has not appeared in a game since March 18.

“There’s no reason for any extra workload,” Dale Sveum said Sunday about Wood.

The light workload was apparently planned before Spring Training began, Sveum said. Wood also has not had any side sessions. Sveum said the right-hander had no other physical problems.

— Carrie Muskat

3/24 Kerry Wood update

Kerry Wood has not pitched since last Sunday. Dale Sveum said Saturday there are no issues and the right-hander will get a couple more outings before the team breaks camp. Wood, the Cubs primary set-up pitcher, did have some issues with his back this spring.

“The back always flares up once in a while,” Sveum said of Wood. “That’s not a concern now. He’s fine.”

— Carrie Muskat 

3/12 Maholm gets first start

Paul Maholm makes his first Cactus League start on Monday when the Cubs face the Reds at HoHoKam Park. The Cubs are using a DH since it is Maholm’s first start. Maholm was slowed this spring by the flu but Dale Sveum says the lefty isn’t that far behind the other starters.

“He hasn’t missed any time, he just hasn’t been out there for the first eight games to face another team,” Sveum said Monday.

The plan is for Maholm to go two innings or 30-35 pitches.

“Hopefully, two innings before the 35 pitches,” Sveum said.

Last season, Maholm was 6-14 with a 3.66 ERA in 26 starts with the Pirates. He made his final start Aug. 17 and then was shut down for the rest of the season because of a strained left shoulder. Sveum said they’ll watch Maholm’s innings.

“I think he’s a guy you have to stay on top of and keep those innings at a certain pace,” Sveum said. “He knows and understands how to get quick outs with the sinker so he can go deeper in the game.”

Other pitchers slated to go Monday include Lendy Castillo, Jeff Samardzija, Kerry Wood and Carlos Marmol.

— Carrie Muskat

2/27 Cubs bunting tourney update

Dale Sveum edged Kerry Wood to advance in the first round of the Cubs bunting tournament on Monday although the manager got a little help from the turf as he advanced when Wood’s last bunt swerved into the 30-point box rather than the 40 points that he needed.

“That was about as equal as you can get,” Sveum said. “I was lucky the grass was growing the other way.”

Sveum vs. Wood was the last match of the day Monday, and the manager called on pitching coach and former teammate Chris Bosio to be the “pitcher” rather than coach Pat Listach, who had thrown to the players in the six previous matches. Wood needed to get three bunts into the 40-point box to beat the skipper and just came up short.

“I got lucky by the way the grass was growing to the east,” Sveum said. “The ball kind of fell off the white line. I thought I was done and I was going to shake his hand, and the ball just trickled off the white line at the end.”

Others to advance on Monday include pitchers Carlos Marmol and Ryan Dempster. Position players to advance include Marlon Byrd, Geovany Soto, David DeJesus and Jeff Baker.

“It’s a fun thing but also a lot of people want to get better and care about it,” Sveum said. “This tournament shows you guys who like to compete as well. Coming into a camp, you get a feeling of guys who are bearing down and competing and some guys who aren’t competing as well. You get to know somebody a little bit through this tournament.”

— Carrie Muskat

2/27 Castro OK after getting hit – UPDATE

Starlin Castro had a little welt on his right forearm after he was hit by a Kerry Wood fastball during live BP on Monday. Castro said he was OK, and the ball didn’t hit him too hard. After he was hit, Castro came out of the cage to be examined but he did go back in against Wood later in the round. When Wood was finished, he went over to Castro to check on the shortstop.

“He said, ‘I’m sorry,'” Castro said. “It was a fastball in, and it hit me.”

The pain must not have lasted long as Castro lined a ball off the right field fence off Carlos Marmol in his next live BP session. Castro also participated in two batting practice sessions off coaches.

“I’m OK,” Castro said. “He didn’t hit me too hard.”

The shortstop admitted it did hurt a little but that he’s not afraid in the cage.

“I’m never scared about that,” Castro said. “I’m never scared. I’m scared if it hits me in the head — that’s not good. … It happens all the time, practice, games, everywhere.”

Cubs manager Dale Sveum didn’t expect Castro to miss any activities on Tuesday.

“He’s fine,” Sveum said. “I wasn’t there to witness it but it sounded a little more scary but he’s fine. He stepped right in and did all his drills after that. It was almost like he didn’t get hit.”

— Carrie Muskat