The “When is Kerry Wood going to finally throw off a mound?” mystery has finally been solved. Wood is scheduled to throw off a mound today.
The “When is Kerry Wood going to finally throw off a mound?” mystery has finally been solved. Wood is scheduled to throw off a mound today. The oft-injured pitcher, who hasn’t thrown off a hill since late March in spring training because of a shoulder injury, is scheduled for a bullpen session at Wrigley Field before tonight’s game against Colorado. “We think this is a big step,” Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said. Wood, who was slated to pitch in the bullpen this year, even joked to his manager, “No comment,” when Lou Piniella asked him when he would be able to throw off a mound. “It would be nice seeing him on the mound,” Piniella said. “I would love to see him on the mound throwing.” The Cubs have no timetable for Wood’s return but it’s doubtful he will be back any sooner than five or six weeks if there are no setbacks. He must build his strength up to be able to pitch two innings and to be able to make back-to-back appearances before he pitches for the North Siders. Teeter-totter The Cubs did not make a roster move Monday, entering the game against Colorado with six relief pitchers on the roster but only five available because of closer Ryan Dempster’s injury. “We’re teetering - we do need a pitcher,” Piniella said. The Cubs could bring up a reliever from the minors - left-handers Neal Cotts and Carmen Pignatiello have been mentioned - but are not sure which position player to take off the roster. Felix Pie, who was 2-for-19 on the recent road trip, is struggling but Piniella insisted he would not be demoted. Hot-hittting Angel Pagan, who homered in the first inning Monday, and Mike Fontenot, eight-game hitting streak entering Monday’s game, have options but likely aren’t going anywhere. And it’s doubtful Ryan Theriot will be sent down even though he was 0-for-14 on the last homestand. There is speculation the Cubs are trying to deal outfielder Jacque Jones or shortstop Cesar Izturis. D-Day for Dempster Dempster is scheduled to throw off a mound for the first time since Friday, when he hurt his left oblique. “He’s better than he was (Sunday),” Piniella said. “Now (today), he’ll throw off the mound and that will be the determining factor on what we do as far as riding it out or the disabled list.” Blanco Watch Catcher Henry Blanco was optimistic over the weekend that he was on the right path to return to the Cubs soon after missing four weeks with a herniated disc in his neck. Blanco took batting practice and did some throwing while the Cubs were at U.S. Cellular Field. Piniella, however, is cautious. “Henry has to get himself well and I wouldn’t rush the baseball end of it too much now - I really wouldn’t,” Piniella said. Short Hops The Cubs held a moment of silence for Rod Beck, a former Cubs closer who died Saturday. … Class A Daytona pitcher Jeff Samardzija gave up four earned runs in five innings against Tampa on Sunday in a no-decision. The former Notre Dame two-sport star is 0-5 with a 5.22 ERA. … Triple-A Iowa pitcher John Webb was named Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Week after shutting out Nashville on Wednesday. More Cubs coverage is at www.dailysouthtown.com/sports.