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Wood's tendinitis flares up in Cubs' win
Another day, another Cubs crisis.
Or maybe this one should be labeled a mini-crisis.
We'll know for sure in another six days if Kerry Wood can't make his next scheduled start Saturday in Houston.
Right now, plans are for him to start.
But Wood is back to nursing tendinitis in his valuable right shoulder. That didn't stop him from going five innings Sunday in a 5-2 Cubs victory over the Pirates. But it did keep him from going further despite throwing only 76 pitches.
"There's nothing wrong with him, he just has a little tendinitis," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "We thought it best, to calm it down, to throw a designated amount of innings. We think he's OK, doctors think he's OK. He's still kind of in spring training (conditioning-wise) and that happens a lot."
In real spring training, Wood was limited to three official games and nine innings because of the same tightness in the same area, which forced him back to Chicago for tests.
The soreness "was gone for a while. It was just a little cranky [Sunday]," Wood said. "It was the coldest day I pitched in so far this year and we made the decision [five innings] was enough and to get ready for my next one in five or six days."
So he'll make his next start Saturday?
"Yeah, we hope so," Baker said. "We think so."
Will his pitches be limited again?
"It all depends on how it calms down between now and then," Baker said. "We're just trying to get it calmed down and get rid of it completely. There's always something with everybody, it's just a matter to what degree."
Wood looked good at times, striking out eight Pirates and allowing two second-inning runs before retiring nine of his last 10 batters. It was his first victory since Sept. 16, a span that covers seven starts.
"Honestly, I'm not going to worry about it too much" he said. "The way it felt [Sunday] and the way I threw the ball, I'm pleased. I didn't throw a whole lot of breaking balls, but my changeup was outstanding.
"It's frustrating any time you have anything bothering you, but sometimes you have stuff bothering you and you have to go out and get through it. Hopefully, it should get better.
"I have to treat it aggressively, but not too aggressively. It's not an injury of any kind where I'm going to miss time, hopefully."
Wood was taken off the hookand the Wrigley Field crowd of 37,452 finally got to cheerwhen his teammates strung together four hits for four runs in the fourth inning off Dave Williams, starting for Josh Fogg (inner-ear infection).
The first Cubs run came on Neifi Perez's second homer of the season and the next three on Jeromy Burnitz's third homer after an 0-for-8 streak that included three strikeouts and a double-play grounder Saturday.
"I had been battling up there," Burnitz said. "I've been swinging at pitches out of the strike zone and missing the ones that are in. But I don't look on it like that. I look at the reasons why I'm not doing it and try to do [things right] the next at-bat."
The Cubs added an extra run in the eighth inning on Corey Patterson's bunt single, Jerry Hairston's sacrifice bunt and Perez's RBI single.
All that was left was for someone to close out the game now that LaTroy Hawkins has been demoted from that role. That duty fell to Chad Fox, who walked one but got three outs for his first save in exactly two years.
This "was a pretty good sign that I'll get a chance to close, and I'll try to take the best advantage of it as I can," Fox said. "But the bottom line is I want to help this team win. If I'm not doing it, you better get somebody else. That's what it's all about."