Kerry Wood on track for Thursday

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Kerry Wood on track for Thursday

MESA, Ariz. Kerry Wood made his big-league debut during the middle of the Clinton administration, against a team that no longer exists (the Montreal Expos). So hes been around long enough to have an idea of what it takes to get ready for Opening Day.

Even if, as Wood pointed out, it took almost a week for the Chicago media to notice that he hadnt pitched recently, it still raised eyebrows because of his injury history. The Cubs say its all part of the plan to preserve a hard-throwing reliever who will turn 35 in June.

Wood last appeared in a game on March 18. He threw on Monday and then completed a bullpen session on Tuesday. It went well enough to where the Cubs felt comfortable moving up his timeline. Hes scheduled to pitch Thursday against the San Diego Padres.

The Cubs were initially projecting Saturday for Woods return. In theory, he could pitch every other day before leaving Arizona and finish with appearances in seven Cactus League games, which is around what the Cubs say they targeted. Its unclear if thats how camp will end.

Wood pitched nine innings last spring, went on the disabled list with a blister on his right middle finger in June and by September was shut down with a knee injury. But he still wound up appearing in 55 games, and the Cubs believe they can manage his workload better. The idea is to save as many bullets as possible for the regular season.

Morning Update: Cubs crush Pirates; White Sox beat Rays; Bulls host media day

Morning Update: Cubs crush Pirates; White Sox beat Rays; Bulls host media day

Here are some of the headlines from yesterday's busy day in Chicago sports:

Preview: Cubs back at it in Pittsburgh tonight on CSN

Preview: Chris Sale starts for White Sox against Rays tonight on CSN+

Wade in Bulls jersey: same material, different reality

Jay Cutler remaining Bears starter not assured when he returns from thumb injury

Blackhawks: Keith unlikely to play first four preseason games

Kyle Hendricks, Kris Bryant help transform Cubs into 100-win team

James Shields gets first win in two months as White Sox beat Rays

Bulls begin 'necessary' new era by creating a culture 'to take steps forward'

What Cubs need to see during finals week before playoff test

Five things to watch during Bulls’ training camp

Preview: Cubs back at it in Pittsburgh tonight on CSN

Preview: Cubs back at it in Pittsburgh tonight on CSN

The Cubs take on the Pittsburgh Pirates tonight, and you can catch all the action on CSN. Catch first pitch at 6 p.m. with Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on Cubs Postgame Live.

Starting pitching matchup: John Lackey (10-8, 3.39 ERA) vs. Ryan Vogelsong (3-6, 4.85 ERA)

Click here for a game preview to make sure you’re ready for the action.  

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