Baker: No Worries over Wood

It was a rare occurrence.<p> Some couldn't recall it happening before.<p> But Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood actually was booed by Cubs fans at Wrigley Field during the first game of a doubleheader Wednesday.

He gave up a solo home run to the first batter he faced, Geoff Blum, and the booing started. It finally ended when he left the game in the seventh inning after giving up seven runs and nine hits.

"I didn't hear it," Wood said.

Since breaking onto the scene as a 20-year-old phenom and striking out 20 batters in just his fifth major league start, Wood has been one of the most popular Cubs pitchers in recent years.

But he's had numerous injuries and some bad luck on the mound. And he has yet to put together a season of more than 14 victories. Still, the 27-year-old owns a 67-50 mark and was terrific in the 2003 National League Division Series against Atlanta. Now fans are booing him and columnists are recommending he be traded.

Cubs manager Dusty Baker feels that Wood will get his game back in order after Wood missed close to three weeks of spring training with bursitis in his right shoulder.

"There is no reason for concern -- he's still kind of in spring training because he didn't have all of his starts there," Baker said. "He settled down after the first inning and found his release point. There were some innings when he threw the ball well, which was encouraging.

"He showed no physical effects after throwing 112 pitches. I'm sure he'll be better the next time out."


  • OF Jason Dubois proved himself at the Triple-A level last year when he hit 31 homers and drove in 99 runs in 109 games for Iowa.

    He parlayed that fine season with an outstanding winter in Mexico.

    Now he is on the Cubs' parent club and is fighting for whatever scraps of playing time he can find backing up Todd Hollandsworth.

    Dubois, 26, slammed an opposite-field two-run home run against Pittsburgh's Oliver Perez on Friday and is hitting .364 with a home run and 4 RBI in 11 at-bats.

    Look for Dubois to get a majority of his playing time against lefties. But if he continues to stay hot, he might see some action against righties as well.

  • RHP Carlos Zambrano, who allowed just 23 home runs in 423 2/3 innings in 2003 and 2004, gave up three home runs, including two to catcher David Ross, in Friday night's no-decision against Pittsburgh.

  • CF Corey Patterson, who opened the season with a nine-game hitting streak, did not start in Friday's game against Pittsburgh because he was hitting .231 lifetime against Pirates starter Oliver Perez. He struck out pinch hitting in the ninth to halt the hitting streak.

  • SS Nomar Garciaparra entered Friday's action hitting .171 after a red-hot exhibition season in spring training. Cubs manager Dusty Baker said the shortstop is struggling with pitch selection, and Baker added that he is not concerned with Garciaparra overall because he entered the season with a lifetime .322 average.

  • RHP Mark Prior, who pitched the second game of a doubleheader on Wednesday, will get five days of rest for his next start, Tuesday at Cincinnati. He and Kerry Wood started in the doubleheader, and Wood will pitch Monday at Cincinnati on four days of rest.

  • INF Mike Fontenot, who came to the Cubs in the Feb. 2 trade for Sammy Sosa, made his major league debut when he pinch ran for Aramis Ramirez and scored in the ninth inning of an 8-3 loss to San Diego on Wednesday.

  • BY THE NUMBERS: 136-187 -- The Cubs' all-time record at Busch Stadium. The Cubs open their final season at the St. Louis park on Wednesday.

  • QUOTE TO NOTE: "He didn't talk to me about it. The ball talked to his shin." -- Cubs manager Dusty Baker on Corey Patterson's decision to wear a shin guard.

    1. RHP Carlos Zambrano
    2. RHP Greg Maddux
    3. RHP Ryan Dempster
    4. RHP Kerry Wood
    5. RHP Mark Prior

    RHP LaTroy Hawkins (closer)
    RHP Chad Fox
    LHP Mike Remlinger
    LHP Glendon Rusch
    RHP Jon Leicester
    RHP Michael Wuertz
    LHP Cliff Bartosh

    1. CF Corey Patterson
    2. 2B Neifi Perez/Jerry Hairston Jr.
    3. SS Nomar Garciaparra
    4. 3B Aramis Ramirez
    5. 1B Derrek Lee
    6. RF Jeromy Burnitz
    7. LF Todd Hollandsworth
    8. C Michael Barrett

    C Henry Blanco
    INF/OF Jose Macias
    OF Jason Dubois
    INF Mike Fontenot

    2B Todd Walker went on the DL because of a sprained knee ligament.

    RHP Joe Borowski suffered a fractured right wrist on March 21 and was projected to be out at least until May.

    RHP Scott Williamson (Tommy John surgery in 2004) will not open the season with the club, but the Cubs think there is a chance he could be on the hill in August or September.

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