The Cubs got a head start by acquiring pitchers Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin from Oakland on July 8, and may have found a new arm for the bullpen with the addition of rookie Jeff Samardzija. He made his Major League debut on Friday, and was firing 96-98-mph fastballs with movement, something that Cubs manager Lou Piniella is looking for.
"It's almost like trading for a reliever," Piniella said.
The concern is whether Kerry Wood can bounce back from a nagging blister on his right hand. Wood, who has not pitched since July 11, was going to try to throw a side session on Sunday. He's been throwing changeups on the side so as not to aggravate the blister.
"I'd hate to have this much time in and go out and throw and then have something else happen to it and have to do this all over again," Wood said. "It's still a little sensitive, but I'm making progress."
He can come off the DL on Tuesday, but needs to also show the Cubs that he still has the arm strength. It's been a tedious process.
"It's like watching paint dry," Wood said.
When someone suggested he follow Mordecai "Three Fingers" Brown and use just three fingers, Wood joked that he was "almost ready to cut it off."
"We'll be steadily doing a combination of evaluating how we're doing and our injuries, and keep an eye if anything makes sense to help the club," Hendry said. "First and foremost, now that [Alfonso Soriano] is back, and as long as Jimmy Edmonds is healthy, you don't have a lot of areas of concern position-player wise. When Soriano comes back and gets a little more of the rust out, you have an extra huge bat you didn't have."
Soriano returned on Wednesday after being sidelined with a broken bone in his left hand. Edmonds has a tender left knee, but it's something he's been able to battle through.
The Cubs also have some help in the Minor Leagues in outfielder Felix Pie and relievers Michael Wuertz and Kevin Hart. That's inventory that Hendry said he isn't willing to part with.
Since coming out of the All-Star break, the Cubs have been in a hitting funk, but Hendry wasn't concerned.
"In fairness to our guys, are we hitting after the break the way we'd like to? No, but we're not going to replace our star players because they're having a bad week," Hendry said. "The other players, let's give them their due. The [Ryan] Theriots and [Mike] Fontenots and Reed Johnsons of the world and Henry Blanco, they're doing their fair share. You don't upgrade from that.
"What you obviously need is for Woody to come back healthy and everything will fit," Hendry said. "I think Samardzija will give us a lift. We'll see how that unfolds and see how guys are throwing, and evaluate that into the next series."