MESA, Ariz. -- Kerry Wood wants to be clear. He’s not attempting a comeback.
But there he was in uniform on the first day of spring training workouts on Tuesday -- just like the previous 14 years -- on the field with his former Chicago Cubs teammates.
“It was great,” Wood laughed afterwards. “I was thrilled to not have to do those drills and instead watch these guys go out and do it.”
Wood is in camp for the next two weeks and then his schedule is unclear. But he’s here to help, in whatever way the organization needs.
“The presence of those (former players), sometimes a young player will listen to a Kerry Wood more than a Dale Sveum,” the Cubs manager said about Wood’s appearance. “And it’s given him an opportunity to be on this side of the wall and see if he enjoys this part of it. Front office, development, whatever it might be.”
Wood helped with drills, playing first base as pitchers fielded grounders. When he wasn’t manning first he was talking to them on the field, giving little instructions.
“This is where I’m supposed to be at this time of year,” he said. “As a player I felt like I got more information from guys playing or just out of the game. I’ve been doing this kind of stuff anyways. It’s just a natural progression.
“It can be intimidating as a young player walking into the manager’s office, so having another brain to pick...if they want they can come talk to me.”
Sveum says Wood will be with the team from time to time throughout the season. Right now Wood is just getting to know the newcomers.
“I’m getting treated like a rookie again,” he joked.
Any itch to come back?
“I haven’t thrown a ball,” he said “No comeback.”