Cubs playing wait and see with Wood

Cubs play wait and see with inconsistent Wood

MESA, Ariz. -- Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood threw one inning in relief on Sunday and wasn't as sharp as his previous outing. The Cubs will wait and see before announcing the next step.

Wood served up three runs on three hits, including Kendry Morales' two-run homer, while striking out one in the seventh inning of the Cubs' 3-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He threw 18 pitches, 12 for strikes.

On Friday, Wood needed nine pitches in one inning against the Giants in his first game since March 11. He had been sidelined with a strained triceps muscle. The original plan was to have him go Monday, Wednesday and this coming Friday, but apparently that changed.

"He was scheduled to pitch today," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said Sunday. "I had said 'Monday,' but on the schedule it had 'Sunday.'

"He wasn't as sharp today, obviously," Piniella said. "His fastball didn't have the life like it did the last time. We'll see how he feels tomorrow."

Wood, who spent the winter rehabbing a partial tear in his right rotator cuff, was making his fifth Cactus League appearance. The Cubs' Opening Day starter in 2003 and '04 is converting from a starter to a reliever.

Wood declined to talk about his outing after the game. Piniella didn't want to commit to when the right-hander would throw again, saying he wanted to see how he responds on Monday. The toughest part about this final week is getting Wood to not overdo it.

"I'll try to impress on Kerry that there's plenty of time," Piniella said. "The better foundation you can build, the better. These kids are all competitive and they want to compete and they want to pitch and they want to help the ballclub."

It's easy to say. But there are empty boxes in the hallway leading to the clubhouse for players to pack their things for the trip north. The Cubs break camp after Thursday's game. Players are antsy for the season to start. Wood may need more time.

"There's a reason Spring Training has been six weeks for all these years," Piniella said. "If pitchers didn't need that amount of time, I think Spring Training would've been scaled back before today.

"You've got to build, you've got to get in shape, you've got to build arm strength, and it's not only Woody but it's anybody," Piniella said.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.