A Step Closer for Wood

The Cubs saw Kerry Wood up close and personal on Monday. And they liked what they saw.

Wood, who is recovering from shoulder and knee surgeries, threw a 30-pitch bullpen session at Dodger Stadium before Monday night's game. It was the first time the Cubs had seen him since spring training.

The Cubs likely will allow him to throw an accelerated batting practice or simulated game on Thursday and then give serious thought to sending him for a minor league rehab assignment next week.

"I'm getting there," Wood said. "I'm itching to get out there."

REPLAY: Greg Maddux, who turned 40 on Friday, became the first Cubs starter to go more than seven innings this year when he threw eight innings, allowing one run on three hits in a 4-1 victory over Los Angeles on Monday night. He opens the season 3-0 for the first time since 1994.

Todd Walker hit his 100th career home run in the first inning and finished with two RBIs. Closer Ryan Dempster tied a team record when he converted his 22nd straight save chance, matching Joe Borowski, who accomplished the feat in 2003-04.


--RF Jacque Jones made his first start Monday night since suffering a hamstring injury on April 11, but the rest didn't solve his season-long slump. He finished 0-for-4 to drop his average to .091.

--RHP Mark Prior (shoulder pain) had another bullpen session in extended spring training in Mesa, Ariz., on Monday and threw 51 pitches. He will begin to face hitters on Friday.

--SS Ronny Cedeno committed three errors in the Cubs' first 11 games but also showed great range and made some highlight-reel gems. Cubs manager Dusty Baker said that third base coach Chris Speier will continue to work with Cedeno on his throwing.

--OF Angel Pagan was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Sunday after he came out of Saturday's game against Pittsburgh with left hamstring and knee pain after running out a grounder. Pagan received an MRI in Chicago on Sunday and it was revealed on Monday that he suffered a tendon tear in the hamstring, which will keep him out four to six weeks. The knee is not damaged.

--OF Felix Pie's name came up from manager Dusty Baker when he was mulling a replacement for OF Angel Pagan, who suffered a left leg injury on Saturday. Instead, the Cubs went for a 12th pitcher on the staff because the bullpen had been overtaxed at the beginning of the season. But Pie likely will get a shot to be called up this year after he gets a little more seasoning at Triple-A Iowa. The Cubs love his speed and power but feel he needs to get more playing time after missing the last half of the 2005 season with an ankle injury.

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