Wood Sent Back to Chicago with Shoulder Issue

What was played off in Spring Training as the team trying to save Kerry Wood’s innings for the regular season, has turned into an issue less than two weeks into the year.

Kerry Wood left the team Tuesday and flew back to Chicago to receive a cortisone shot in his right shoulder. According to Comcast SportsNet, “if the shoulder responds, the Cubs hope Wood will be available by the weekend. If not, there’s the possibility that Wood could land on the disabled list for the 16th time in his career.”

As Baseball Prospectus’ Kevin Goldstein put it, “When pitchers are getting cortisone shots in a shoulder before the season is two weeks old that is not a good sign.”

Kerry Wood said there was nothing physically wrong with him that kept him from pitching for a 10-day stretch in Spring Training. Wood ended up throwing only five innings in the Cactus League then struggled mightily in the first two games against the Washington Nationals.

Wood felt some discomfort Tuesday during an early workout at Marlins Park after his shoulder flared up again following his outing Friday in St. Louis.

Jed Hoyer said the problem has been “sort of off and on” since the beginning of the spring. Hoyer explained they are “trying to get him right” but admitted that he doesn’t “have all the years and years of background with him” and knows Wood’s arm “is always something that is touch-and-go.”

Hoyer said, “It wasn’t so much he felt like he was hurt. It just didn’t feel right. So we tried to back off a little bit, try to let him gather some strength and it hasn’t worked so far. We’ll keep trying.”

With Kerry Wood out until at least Friday the bullpen will be one man short. It will be up to Matt Garza and Jeff Samardzija to be as effective and as efficient as possible in the two remaining games against the Marlins. Rafael Dolis basically pitched two innings Tuesday night and figures to be unavailable Wednesday, that would leave Shawn Camp, Lendy Castillo, James Russell, Rodrigo Lopez and Carlos Marmol in the backend of Dale Sveum’s pen.

Stay Tuned …

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  • Chadaudio

    … and the bullpen gets even more thin.

  • Zonk

    The bullpen is going to be a problem all year.  What I don’t advocate is trying to fix it by trading prospects or any asset of long-term value.  Which means we are going to have to live with guys in our organization, or other team’s leftovers.

    I think Theo knew going into the season our bullpen would struggle, but decided to think long-term and NOT spend money and/or mortgage the future to add a few wins to what figures to be a losing season anyway.  The Cubs are a 3+ year rebuilding project, given our lack of young talent.  This is why we stockpiled some arms with ML experience in AAA; Corpas, DeLaCruz, and Robertson. 

    So, I would bet anything we’ll see someone from Iowa before too long; Corpas, DeLa Cruz, Maine, Believeu, or Caridad.  They are all doing OK down there so far.

    None of them are part of the long-term plan, (maybe Beliveau), they are pretty much roster-fodder while we turn the ship around.

    • Zonk

      …But in the short term, this is pretty ugly:

      “that would leave Shawn Camp, Lendy Castillo, James Russell, Rodrigo Lopez and Carlos Marmol “

      • Chadaudio

        Yeah, I really don’t want to see Camp pitch for the Cubs again.  Oh well.

    • Chadaudio

      Zonk – I agree.  It’s too late to do anything about the bullpen really.  There is some hope that a trade-deadline acquisition may lead to some bullpen depth, but our trade chips don’t seem to helping their value any (Byrd, Soto, Moholm).

      I just feel so bad for our starting pitching… no defense and no bullpen (on top of a bad offense).

      At least Stewart, LaHair, and Clevenger are looking all right so far.

      • Zonk

        They aren’t helping their value, but even if they were, veteran players are attractive only to contending teams, and contending teams aren’t going to trade away ML-ready bullpen talent.  So, thinking we can improve the bullpen immediately with anything other than someone’s 12th or 13th best pitcher isn’t reasonable.

        Even if they are performing, Maholm and Byrd would not have big value anyway, due to salaries.  Soto would have some because he is club-controlled through 2013, but he needs to hit better.

  • cubtex

    Did anyone see on mlbtraderumors that they listed the top young pitchers who could be free agents next year and the next couple? Pretty small list. Cole Hamels,Greinke, Anibal Sanchez, Brandon McCarthy and the infamous Edwin Jackson(again) 2013 only our own Matt Garza and for 2014 Masterson,Matt Harrison and Scherzer.

    So……..My take is still that Theo will move Garza. I doubt very much Cole Hamels would consider signing with the Cubs and I don’t think they would try and sign Greinke either. Anibal Sanchez is a nice pitcher….but he is not an ace. Brandon McCarthy and E Jackson are 3’s or 4’s. Therefore….the rotation for next year will not be much better than this year if you hold onto Garza and with the lack of trade pieces. Theo needed to utilize Cashner and Marshall to aquire starting pitching prospects this year(imo)  instead of who he aquired(even though I like Rizzo) Will this rotation thrill you for next year?
    E Jackson
    T Wood

    This is what it could be. Dempster will be gone. Maholm will probably be gone. The only player with value to trade is Garza and Castro. That is why I think Garza will be traded and I don’t expect them to compete next year either. This is a small market rebuild and it is a minimum of 3 years with the plan in place. They will build through the draft and it will take years to reap the benefits.

    • Zonk

      Pretty much.  The current trend in baseball is to lock-up all the good young players.  The problem is the Cubs don’t have any good young players to lock up, at least pitchers.  This means we are going to have to grow some pitching, which takes time.  Trey McNutt is the only guy in the system that might have a top-tier ceiling.  Maybe.  If Shark continues to perform, he’s a start to that, anyway.

      I think the Cubs are going to try hard to lock-up Garza, and will only fail if he makes it clear he wants to test the market. If he states he wants to test the market, may as well trade him.

      It sucks, but this is going to take awhile.  We don’t have the horses.  Getting them takes time and/or money.  But with young players being locked up, now it takes mostly time.

    • cc002600

       I think its a mistake to trade Garza.  Don’t you have to build your team around something ? My God, is their first priority saving money by cutting payroll or is it winning ?

      Their financial committments in payroll are very small after this year.  Is our payroll going to be 75-80M in the coming years ??  That’s just ridiculous given the ticket prices.  If they keep that up, they will definitely start to alienate some fans

      • cubtex

        I agree. Garza is one of the better young pitchers in the game(imo) He is just coming into his own and is capable of winning 17,18 games on a good team. Look at where they are at. Only McNutt and maybe Concepcion and Travis Wood have a shot at making the rotation for next year. There are no top free agent pitchers available for 2013(only our own Garza) Where is Theo going to get this pitching from? He missed out on our 2 biggest chips this offseason with Cashner and Marshall. If he can get back 2 potential starters for example Jacob Turner and Drew Smyly for Garza….you might be better off since this team is not going to compete for several years the way they are doing it

        • cc002600

           Yes, I agree with you, except that pitchers take longer to develop (IMO).  So if you acquire a couple AA or AAA pitchers you are looking at 4 to 5 years minimum before they turn into something good, and even then you are NOT guaranteed they will even be good. I would not do it.

          Like you said before, I would sign E Jackson. and maybe a sanchez.  You could win with that rotation, if you could put together some offense.

        • John_CC

           I actually agree with you…not entirely but still…I am agreeing! 

          I think Garza is worth extending and building around.  btw cc002600, Castro, Rizzo and Jackson are a pretty decent group to build around.  I am sure Epstein and Hoyer will go hard after Hamels and maybe Greinke as well as Sanchez.  They will go hard after the FA market next year. 

          Cashner, if kept, would have been looked upon to be a future starting rotation building block. They opted to go trade him for a position player. He would not have brought back a better SP prospect, that wouldn’t make any sense. 

          Marshall as well.  Relief pitchers, even the best ones, do not return top of rotation SP prospects in trade. They just don’t.

          Garza, Shark and the addition of one of Grienke or Hamels all of a sudden is formidable. Then add Anibal Sanchez and McNutt/Concepcion/Wood and there is a rotation. 

          Also, I thought that Lincecum was FA after 2013.

          • cc002600

             John, I agree that Castro, Rizzo, and BJax are a good base to build around, but none of them pitch.   We have zero pitching in the minors.

            My only point  was that if you trade Garza for prospects, you are looking at a VERY, VERY, VERY long process to re-build a pitching staff.

            Because increasingly the FA market is becoming weaker and weaker every year as it seems that the top guys are being re-signed by their own teams.  For example, as much I would love to see them get Hamels, I would doubt the Phillies will let him walk.

            They need to keep Garza and build from there. He is a potential ace that is still relatively young. How else are you going to get that type of talent in the near term ? 

          • John_CC

            Hey I totally agree, man. Garza should be locked up for 4 years, imo.

          • cubtex

            I’m going to play devils advocate here. What if they are unable to sign any of the free agent pitchers mentioned above? You roll the dice and lock up Garza for 5 years and now you don’t have another top end starter to pair with him. That is why I am thinking Theo deals Garza because they don’t have any other front end starters besides maybe Shark….and it is way too early to call him one yet.

          • John_CC

            I agree with you and then you want to “play” disagree. I don’t want to. And I said 4 years.

          • cubtex

            You missed my point. I said what if Theo is unable to sign any free agents and now you have 75 million locked up in Garza with noone else to take them over the top?

          • John_CC

             Then Cub fans would have one more thing to gripe about.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Samardzija might become a 15 game winner. IT’s all about control with him. If he’s got it, he’s got it.

          • cubtex

            he could but it is too early to annoint him yet.

          • Zonk

            I think there is universal agreement here that we should lock Garza up if we can.

            The question really is what we do if he and his agent insist on testing the FA waters after 2013.  Then what?

            I don’t see us contending next year either, so having him walk for nothing is not an enticing proposition.  Better to get something in return.

            We really don’t know, because we are not party to those discussions. 

          • cubtex

            not only that…..what I am saying is if you lock him up for 4 years……are there really any other pitchers in the minors who you can pair him with as top of the rotation guys? Concepcion has been called a back end guy by most international scouts. McNuttt? maybe. My point is that IF Theo does not aquire another stud to pair with Garza it is probably better to deal him. I really don’t think Hamels will sign here and Greinke is a huge risk with his past problems.

    • Chadaudio

      Yeah, it seems like everyone is locking up players early and avoiding FA.
      Because of this, I too hope the Cubs keep Garza… we just don’t have any real options.They have been talking about this on the Baseball Today podcast… there they feel that Grienke will probably re-sign with the Brewers, but that Cole Hamels will probably sign with the Dodgers.  Obviously too early to tell – just interesting.

      I wouldn’t be excited about the Cubs getting Grienke… I just don’t think he would excel in the bigger market (due to past problems).  And I know this wouldn’t be popular, but at the right price, I wouldn’t mind re-signing Dempster to be a #5 on the rotation (I just don’t believe in T. Wood).

  • Chadaudio

    I’m guessing they give Wood a couple of days to see if the shot works, and then he’s off to the 15 day DL. 
    I wonder if Neil and/or Tom U. have an opinion on who would be the first up to replace Wood? I’m guessing Corpas?
    Side note: I think it may be time to sacrifice one of our starting pitching depth for some bullpen help.  Wells is doing terrible in the rotation, maybe it’s time to try him in the pen?

    • Zonk

      My guesses would actually be Beliveau, Coleman, or Maine, simply because they are all on the 40-man roster.  Corpas or the other guys would require a move. 

      The only one on the roster who I think can be safely DFA’ed right now is Cabrera, but I’m not an expert.  Maybe Campana, but I think he would get claimed.  Camp I suppose, but not sure the Cubs are done with him yet.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      For a late inning option it would have to be Corpas. As you know he is not on the 40-man and they would have to open a spot for him. 40-man is full right now.

      Coleman and Wells are being used as starters and Maine simply does not throw enough strikes, same could be said about Beliveau. Blake Parker has his good innings and bad innings, often in the same game and would require a roster move as well. Right now, sorry to say not too many options in the minors.

      • Redlarczykg


        I beg to defer on Beliveau.  His whole minor league record shows mostly a 3 so to every walk.
        2010 97 so / 29 w
        2011 89 so / 19 w
        2012   7 so /  2 w

        He had a couple of bad outings this ST.

        He should be in the Cubs pen right now, NOT CAMP, Dale’s buddy.

        I’m guessing “management” is looking more at the whole “control” issue (bring himup in June)  MONEY is the focus.

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          I like Beliveau, I just don’t think he’s ready. It seems like every I-Cubs game he’s pitched in this season he’s 3-1 or 3-2 on every batter. Seldom a first pitch strike. That spells trouble one level up.

          • Redlarczykg


            Looks like I need to bite the bullet and get MLB TV.  I wish you would comment on how good is the MLB TV service.  However, Beliveau has great stuff and maybe a little nervious with his new level of play. 

          • paulcatanese

            I can’t speak for Neil, but I have had problems with it.
            Had to cancel this year and then took it back again. Get some games and not others.
            Cub games are the hardest to get, keep looseing the picture.
            Could be I’m on the West Coast.

          • cubtex

            I agree Neil. He pitched the game I was at on Monday. I thought he threw harder as well. The majority of his pitches were at 88 MPH. I like him as well but he needs to work on his command.

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            His velocity really fluctuates. He can hit low 90s consistently with movement. Problem is his command as you stated. He just needs time. Lots of positives with Beliveau.

      • Chadaudio

        Thanks for the response Neil and Zonk.

  • RynoTiger

    at what point does a ballplayer get honest with himself and start to accept that maybe his body just ain’t what it used to be and decided it’s time to hang it up…thank you for all you’ve done Kerry…but I think the phone is ringing for you…it’s Mr. Retirement.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Well ya know, if he milk is still dripping into your can, why would you stop? I mean, $3 million for multiple visits to the disabled list each year. Why quit? It doesn’t make any sense….cents….to Kerry. 

  • paulcatanese

    Let me see if I can get this straight. The Cubs hire Theo, who brings his computer expertise with him and a system that Ricketts buys into.
    Theo hires Hoyer as GM who believes in his system, then Theo and Hoyer hire Sveum who believes in the system. Am I correct so far?
    Then Theo changes and adds to his staff(who believes in his system)
    and begins his program.
    Exsisting players are plugged into the system and its decided who fits and who does not.
    Bear in mind one of the objectives is to have players that fit the system at the lowest cost that would provide a winner, or at least be tradeable
    at a high after buying low. Thats what it seems like anyhow.
    Sends Cashner and Marshall packing along with others who apparantly do not fit the system ( seemingly for a high return)
    Brings Rizzo in (may be a good thing)Brings in Camp who somehow
    fits the system. Sends players who seem to have an upside out and bring players in that have a previous upside and who Theo hopes that they recapture that upside.
    Then at the right time Theo will bring top players in to make a pennant push, using what has been “stockpiled” to achomplish this. This will take some time as he and Hoyer have stated, and Cub fans should be patient.
    He cannot get rid of Soriono,in reality Byrd either unless he takes a big hit in the process. But the computer says to play Byrd in the hope that he may return to prior success ( whatever that was ) to be able to move him for value.
    ker, DeWitt somehow when plugged into Theo’s computer dictate that they play and are special as they can play several positions, not well but at a low cost to cover the most area.

    I could go on and on but it would take too much time to go into all of the names here. But I think in general terms I have figured out the direction the Cubs are going and how.
    I have not figured out what is missing, except for the human element in all of this.
    I am not bashing Theo,his system, or anything else, just trying to make sense to myself as to whats happening. One thing for sure they will not win many games at all, this year or the next.

    • John_CC

       Paul, I really wish you would stop with all the “what the computer says” stuff.  You know better than that but by saying it repeatedly is actually makes you sound foolish, which we all you are not. 

      Last time and I am on hiatus again –  Cashner for Rizzo: this trade will not be fairly judged for some time, at the very least can we wait until the end of the 2012 season?  If not and we need stay with the NOW NOW NOW theme of late then let’s look.

      Rizzo is currently murdering the PCL to a tune of:
      10R / 5 HR / 13 RBI in 50 AB, his slash line is .400/.423/.720.

      Cashner, in 7 games has throw 6.2 innings with 7 BB and 6 K.

      They sent Marshall “packing” for 3 prospects.  Does anyone really believe that Sean Marshall was the difference between the Cubs succeeding or not this year?  Do you?  Sure, the bullpen would be better, maybe the Cubs would 6-6 right now, hell maybe 7-5! 


      • paulcatanese

        John, was really trying to make sense of what is taking place, maybe I should say system. Sorry that term bothers you, but isn’t thats how the system works?

        I don’t bother with stats, but read you’res and others and make a determination from those.
        I think Rizzo may be a good thing.
        Really trying to figure out why some go and some stay, thats all.
        There are reasons that it happened with all of the moves and know they are not all in someones head.
        No one is that smart, so computers play a large role, I would use one to keep track.
        These moves are not visual, and I understand that and am not totaly against any one of them.
        But John what motivation could be behind all of this without a system and something to keep track?
        I am not inferring that it’s “big brother” running the show, but that Theo has a complicated system and uses computers to keep track, all the computer does is take the information it is given and gives the best option with that info.

      • Scott McMeekan

        John, I actually thought Paul’s post was insightful and questioning the exact thing that most of us are trying to figure out:  Just what the heck is driving Management to make/not make the moves they are/aren’t.

        I liked the analysis and agree with it.  My issue is that Theo was talking out of both sides of his mouth this Spring.  I’m not PollyAnna and understand that you can’t tell the press and your fans that “We are going to absolutely suck for the next 2-3 years, but hang on” without completely losing your base.

        However, a wordsmith could craft language that would have been a bit more ‘honest’.  I’m a vehement believer in effective and honest communication, and when it’s not, especially from those in management positions, it makes me sick.

        • John_CC

          Thanks Scott, we will just have to disagree.  I think that everyone up the chain from Sveum, Hoyer and especially Epstein has been very honest about the club’s intentions and it’s means to that end.  I guess we just read and hear it differently.  Maybe I read more between the lines because I want to, maybe others do not. 

          Frankly I’ve found Epstein’s candor to be refreshing. 

    • RynoTiger

      Actually Paul you have it slightly wrong.  My inside sources tell me that it’s not really a computer system, but it’s actually Theo and Jed sitting down to review player’s Facebook profiles and if they like the profiles, then they keep them.

  • John_CC

    I guess it’s only fitting that Woody end his career with Cubs and on the DL.

  • cc002600

    Neil or Tom U,

    I know that guys like Baez and Vogelbach are in “extended spring training”.  

    How does that work ? Does that last for a short period of time and then they would move to Boise or Peoria, or does that go through the whole summer ?


    • Aaron

      I know you asked Neil and Tom….but thought I’d answer….

      EXST is almost always for players returning from injury or those that signed late last season and didn’t get in many games. In most cases, they keep the high school draftees behind first and foremost, then they hold back college guys that signed late. In spring training, some guys come on fast and are started with full season teams but i am speaking in generalities.

      As an FYI…the EXST squad will morph into the Boise/Mesa squads in late May if memory serves me correctly…or first week of June.

      Most guys will start at Boise while 2012 draftees and DSL players make up the Mesa squad

      • cc002600

         Got it, Thanks.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      I’m sorry, I did not see this earlier. Thanks Aaron.

      Aaron is correct, some of those players will also end up in the Dominican Summer leagues.

    • Tom U

      I also apologize for not being able to respond, but Aaron and Neil are correct