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General manager Jim Hendry said before Saturday's game he was pleased with the current state of the Cubs, considering all the injuries they have endured since spring training.
"When we get Woody on track our pitching will fall in line too," Hendry said.
That may have to wait a bit after Saturday night's 7-5 loss to the Astros.
Kerry Wood, who left his start last Sunday after 76 pitches because of discomfort in his right, throwing shoulder, left Saturday's game after 54 pitches in three innings with what the Cubs said was tendinitis in the shoulder.
He will be re-evaluated Monday in Chicago.
"It's same thing I've been trying to battle through the last three weeks or so," Wood said. "I thought I was close to turning the corner and I felt great warming up and felt great the first two innings. The third inning it kind of crept back up."
Wood missed a couple weeks of spring training because of bursitis in the right shoulder and trainer Mark O'Neal said this is just a continuation of that problem.
"It's not getting worse, but it's not getting better," O'Neal said.
Wood said he felt some discomfort while in his throwing motion Saturday, a change from the past when he felt the discomfort after his delivery or between innings.
"It was uncomfortable, no question," Wood said.
Cubs manager Dusty Baker said he wanted to shut down Wood for a while after last Sunday, but Wood felt good throwing in the bullpen and said he was good to go Saturday. Wood realizes now he may have to miss a start or two.
"At some point we have to let this thing calm down and go ahead and take care of it," he said. "Whatever it is, we have to address it and make sure it's completely [taken care of]."
After pitching three shutout innings Friday, the Cubs bullpen allowed four runs and six hits as Houston ended its six-game losing streak before a sell-out crowd of 41,615 at Minute Maid Park.
Continuing a season-long pattern, Wood struggled out of the gate. He walked leadoff hitter Willy Taveras and, after getting Craig Biggio to ground out, gave up a single, triple, single and double to fall behind 3-0. Wood has given up 19 runs in 261/3 innings so far this seasoneight coming in the first inning.
Saturday was Wood's fifth start. According to Stats, Inc., hitters are 14-for-35 (.400) against Wood during his first 30 pitches of a game. He settles down after the 30-pitch mark and becomes nearly unhittable.
Between pitches 31-75 coming into Saturday, hitters were just 5-for-38 (.132). That pattern followed Saturday as well. Wood threw 28 pitches in the first inning, striking out the final two hitters.
He then allowed just one walk over the next two innings before being removed for pinch-hitter Jason Dubois in the Cubs' fourth. Dubois hit a two-run home run to tie the game in that inning and get Wood off the hook for a loss.
"The second inning was probably the best I've thrown the ball," Wood said. "It seems like every time I throw good and kick it into that next gear I come back and I just don't feel good."
Baker said Friday Wood felt "real good" but said he would keep a close watch on him because he was still in spring training-mode because of the two weeks lost in Arizona.
"He didn't complain at all; he warmed up great," Baker said. "But he didn't really look right, like he was throwing the ball right, even though he had great velocity."
After the Cubs came back from a 3-0 deficit to tie the game, Houston took the lead for good in the fourth on Taveras' two-out RBI-double that scored Brad Ausmus. Taveras has become a thorn in the Cubs side. He gunned down Jeromy Burnitz at the plate in the second inning, the second-straight night he has thrown out a Cub at home.
With Wood out early, Baker had to go to his bullpen. Cliff Bartosh gave up Taveras' double and the Astros touched Michael Wuertz for three runs in the seventh, the big blow Ausmus' two-out, two-run single.
The Cubs rallied with a pair of runs in the eighth, but fell short as Chad Qualls nailed down the save for starter Brandon Backe.