Nomar Garciaparra, Kerry Wood and Scott Williamson all are close to completing their rehab sessions and will likely join the big-league team in early August.
"We'd like to be aggressive here, we'd like to do something by Sunday, but it's not a situation where it's a desperate thing," Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said Friday. "When you can get Nomar and Woody and Williamson back, hopefully, in the next seven or eight days, that may be better served than I could do elsewhere."
One year ago on July 31, the Cubs acquired Garciaparra in a four-team trade. He played 14 games this season before rupturing a tendon in his groin on April 20. He was 1-for-5 in two games at Class A Peoria this week, and is expected to begin another rehab assignment soon.
"These are just the cards that are dealt you and you've got to keep pushing forward," Garciaparra said Friday when reminded of the one-year anniversary of the deal.
He didn't experience any problems either at the plate or in the field in the two games in Peoria. However, Garciaparra is still cautious running out of the batter's box, which is how he injured his groin.
"I'll still be careful, but at the same time, with each passing day you do more and more," Garciaparra said.
Cubs manager Dusty Baker said he expected Garciaparra, 32, to go back to the Minor Leagues for more work.
"Personally, I don't think [two games] is quite enough to expect him to come back sharp right now," Baker said.
Playing in Peoria helped Garciaparra get accustomed to game situations. He was able to turn a double play and leap over the oncoming runner, he played seven innings, and he ran on the base paths.
"Those are examples of things you can't simulate in practice," he said. "It was a good sign and I'm feeling good."
The Cubs will make an announcement on Saturday about where Garciaparra goes next. He would most likely go to Double-A West Tenn because the team is home, while Triple-A Iowa is on the West Coast. He still feels a twinge now and then.
"Even when I was in Arizona [rehabbing], there were tweaks and things that you felt," Garciaparra said. "A lot of times I'd go, 'Ooh,' but it didn't feel too bad. A lot of times when you have an injury, you're breaking up scar tissue.
"I'm looking forward to just coming back and being around these guys," he said.
Wood threw on the side Friday at Wrigley, and will throw a simulated game on Sunday before he's ready to begin a rehab assignment, most likely at West Tenn. He's been bothered by a sore right shoulder, and the Cubs have decided to move him into the bullpen for the rest of this season.
"I have to go down there and get used to it," Wood said. "I have to figure out what it's going to take to get batters out."
He's talked to other relievers to prepare himself for the transition. Wood, 28, has been a starter his entire career.
"It's going to be me going out there day in and day out," he said. "It's like anything else in life. If you've done something one way all your life, it's going to be different. There's a transition period. But it shouldn't take that long. I have to get guys out to be successful."
Williamson, 29, is rehabbing at Triple-A Iowa from Tommy John surgery, and has given up one run on one hit over three innings in three games. He's also struck out five.
Extra bases: Aramis Ramirez did not start Friday to give him a day to rest a sore right quadricep. Ramirez is batting .375 in his last 14 games. "The last couple days, I've seen his bat slowing down," Baker said. "When you see fastballs go by Aramis, you know something's not right." Baker said he wanted to give his All-Star players a break, but Ramirez had been so hot it was tough to take him out of the lineup. ... Todd Hollandsworth has been scuffling. "Basically, he's been trying too hard," Baker said. "You can tell that by the fact that they're not throwing him strikes and he's not swinging at strikes." ... The Hall of Fame has asked Greg Maddux for a jersey as a souvenir of him becoming the 13th pitcher to record 3,000 strikeouts. Maddux did so on Tuesday.
Minor matters Part I: Angel Guzman, a highly touted right-handed pitcher who has been slowed by injuries, is rehabbing in Mesa, Ariz., and is scheduled to pitch on Aug. 15 with the rookie team. If all goes well, Guzman could be assigned to an Arizona Fall League team. The Cubs would like him to go every fifth day for two months to get ready for 2006.
"We thought we'd bring him along gradually," said Oneri Fleita, the Cubs player development director.
Guzman was slowed this season with a strained right forearm and developed inflammation in his right elbow.
Adam Greenberg, the outfielder who was hit in the head by the first pitch he saw in a Major League game on July 9, has cleared all medical tests and has been assigned to Double-A West Tenn. Greenberg rehabbed in Mesa, but did not get in a game there.
Outfielder Felix Pie, sidelined with a bone bruise in his right ankle, will need at least eight more days before he can be activated for a game. Pie is batting .304 with 11 home runs and 25 RBIs in 59 games at West Tenn.
Corey Patterson, who was sent down from the Cubs to Iowa in hopes of getting back on track, is batting .185 (10-for-54) in 14 games with 11 strikeouts and three home runs.
"I didn't think, statistically, he would do well right away," Hendry said of Patterson, who was batting .232 with the Cubs when he was demoted. "When you change things in your hitting approach, your hand position, your stance, that usually doesn't click right away. It happens in any sport. When you make changes in the middle of the season, it's hard to think it's one little thing, and all of a sudden you're going 4-for-4 every night. I thought it would take some time."
Minor matters Part II: Raul Valdes gave up six runs on eight hits over four innings in Iowa's 6-0 loss to Tacoma on Thursday. Mike Fontenot was 2-for-4 with two singles. ... Carlos Marmol gave up one run on five hits over seven innings in West Tenn's 7-4 win over Huntsville. Brandon Sing was 4-for-5 with a home run and two RBIs. Luis Montanez was 4-for-5. ... Brian Dopirak was 2-for-5 with three RBIs in Class A Daytona's 7-6 win over Fort Myers. ... Three Peoria pitchers combined for a three-hit shutout over Dayton in a 7-0 win. Grant Johnson gave up two hits over six innings and struck out eight. Ryan Harvey was 3-for-3. ... Donald Veal gave up five runs on four hits and two walks over 2 2/3 innings in Mesa's 5-1 loss to the Mariners.
Cubs A to Z: Fans attending Saturday's game at Wrigley Field can purchase the book "Wrigley Field A to Z," written and illustrated by the Cubs players' wives. The books will be available on the corner of Sheffield and Addison streets. The book was done in conjunction with Barnes & Noble Booksellers and proceeds go to Cubs Care.
On deck: Rich Hill (0-0, 4.22 ERA) will make his second big-league start on Saturday, facing the Diamondbacks for the first time. Arizona will start lefty Mike Gosling (0-2, 4.13 ERA).
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.