The latest on Kerry Wood's return


The latest on Kerry Wood's return

One week ago, Kerry Wood received a cortisone shot for the right shoulder that the Cubs finally admitted had been bothering him off and on since the beginning of spring training.Wood, who has declined to speak with the media, threw off the mound on Tuesday and is showing progress, though his return remains unclear.Everythings going good, manager Dale Sveum said before Wednesdays 5-1 loss to the Cardinals. He feels a lot better, so well just keep building that up. Were not putting any timetable on it.Were just going to make sure that hes ready to go when we activate him.The Cubs placed Wood on the disabled list for the 16th time in his career with right shoulder fatigue retroactive to April 14.Wood has made four appearances this season the last one on April 13 and pitched 2.1 innings out of the bullpen. Sveum has mentioned the possibility of a minor-league rehab assignment.In theory, Wood could be available by Sunday in Philadelphia, which would give the Cubs the experienced setup guy their bullpen simply doesnt have right now. But theyre not going to push a 34-year-old reliever with this kind of track record.Itll be close, Sveum said. Im not going to say its going to be that exact day or not. We need to go out (and see him) throw his curveball off the mound and just really make sure that everythings good.

Definitive proof that Carl Edwards Jr. is one of the filthiest pitchers on the planet

Definitive proof that Carl Edwards Jr. is one of the filthiest pitchers on the planet

Carl Edwards Jr. didn't get a save or a win Monday night, but he was easily the most impressive pitcher on the field for the Cubs.

The 25-year-old right-hander came on in the sixth inning in relief of Eddie Butler and carved through the heart of the Nationals order, needing only 13 pitches to strike out Brian Goodwin, Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman.

For starters, Joe Maddon deserves plenty of credit for deploying Edwards in an integral spot, even if it was so early in the game. But the Cubs were clinging to a 1-0 lead at the time and Maddon didn't want Butler to face the Washington order for a third time, so Edwards was the call to keep things close.

And that's exactly what Edwards did in dominant fashion. It was the fourth time this season he struck out three batters in an inning, but in the previous instances, he needed at least 16 pitches to do so.

Here is the complete sequence from Edwards to the three helpless Nats (for one inning, at least):

Harper was also locked in at the plate at the time, as it was his only strikeout in the last two games in which he's collected six hits in eight at-bats.

Edwards has been rolling this season with a 1.72 ERA and sparkling 0.82 WHIP. He has 44 strikeouts in 31.1 innings, ranking 18th in baseball in K/9 (12.64).

Since giving up three runs in an outing June 14 against the Mets, Edwards has not allowed a run in five innings, striking out seven batters and surrendering only two singles and a pair of walks.

Kyle Schwarber has rocky start to Triple-A stint

Kyle Schwarber has rocky start to Triple-A stint

The Cubs gave Kyle Schwarber time to sort things out by sending him down to Triple-A Iowa, and Schwarber's first game back in the minors shows he may need some time.

Schwarber's first game with the Iowa Cubs was a forgettable one. He struck out in his first three plate appearances before singling in his last at-bat. He struck out looking in the first inning before striking out swinging his next two times up.

Schwarber batted third in the lineup and played left field. Iowa won 1-0 against the New Orleans Baby Cakes.

He last played for Iowa in 2015, but only spent 17 games there. He hit .333 with three homers and a 1.036 OPS in that short stint. Before getting sent down Schwarber was hitting .171 with the Cubs with 12 home runs, but also 75 strikeouts in 64 games.