Kerry Wood loses his cool in loss to Braves

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Kerry Wood loses his cool in loss to Braves

Kerry Wood walked off the mound and squeezed his glove before throwing it into the stands. He tossed his hat to the fans before disappearing into the dugout.

It was like a scene out of Little League. One pressbox wag wondered what the reaction would have been if Carlos Zambrano had done something like that.

The boos were muted, barely audible, during Tuesday nights meltdown, because its Wood. Cubs fans have a soft spot for the kid they watched grow up at Wrigley Field.

But it all unraveled for the 34-year-old reliever during the eighth inning of a 3-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves. His postgame media session lasted 45 seconds. He cut it off after a reporter mentioned the glove.

Irrelevant, dude, and why the (bleep) would you even bring that up? Wood said. You guys have a good night.

With that, Wood stormed away from his locker. He hadnt really spoken publicly since leaving the team in the middle of April, flying from Miami to Chicago for a cortisone shot the team hoped would strengthen his right shoulder.

There were more questions about Woods health after he faced six Braves and walked two and gave up two hits. By the time Dan Ugglas two-run single landed in left-center field, parts of the announced crowd of 38,523 began heading toward the exits.

Thats the frustrating thing, Wood said. I bounced back from the injection and the shoulder feels great. It still feels fine. I actually threw some good curveballs tonight for the first time in a month. But its all about results.

Manager Dale Sveum: He said he feels fine.

The Cubs (12-18) wasted another strong start from Ryan Dempster, who limited a powerful Braves lineup to one run across seven innings, but hasnt had his luck change.

Dempster still doesnt have a win yet, even with a 1.02 ERA through five quality starts. He probably knows Wood as well as anyone in the Cubs clubhouse.

I know hes feeling good, Dempster said. Coming off the DL, hes had a couple rough outings. But hes a professional, as professional as anybody Ive ever played with and things will turn around real soon.

Before the game, Cubs president Theo Epstein told reporters how the upcoming draft is probably the most important thing that were doing right now, to be honest.

Its a year-long process, Epstein said. Right now, were right in the sweet spot of finishing up evaluations, going back, getting final looks and then well get together and dissect all the information.

Thats where the Cubs are at as an organization, looking at around 10 players for the sixth overall pick.

While it would be nice to win this year, its not the No. 1 priority. Its all building toward the future, which seems to make a 3 million setup guy something of a luxury item.

Wood can do a lot for that clubhouse, and may still strengthen this bullpen, but right now he has a 14.54 ERA. Something is clearly gnawing at him.

Its frustrating. It doesnt matter if youre young or a veteran guy, Sveum said. When you give up a couple runs and you walk a couple guys, its frustrating. It doesnt matter who you are, how many years you have in the big leagues. Its frustrating to do that in a tie ballgame.

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Former Western Michigan Linebacker Grant DePalma gives an assist by demonstrating the drills. An athlete's vertical is an important tool and can be the difference during evaluation.

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