Kerry Wood to ease his way back into 'pen

PHILADELPHIA -- Now that Kerry Wood moved another step closer toward coming off the disabled list, the Chicago Cubs will have to decide what role the right-hander fills when he is back in action.

Wood threw a 22-pitch simulated game Monday afternoon, and although he has declined to talk much about either his slow start or his shoulder discomfort, he did give a quick thumbs up Monday and said, “It went good.”

Getting back into the bullpen is one thing. Getting back his role as setup man might take a little longer.

“We might talk about that in the next couple of days, what we will do in that situation,” manager Dale Sveum said. “Just take a little stress off that situation when he first comes back. Possibly move him in the seventh-inning role and see what happens there but we will talk about that in the next few days."

Sveum said last week the club was targeting a Thursday return for Wood, but the manager amended that Monday to include Friday as a possible return date as well.

Sveum would prefer to ease Wood back into action and doesn’t want to have to lean on him too much right away if the rest of the bullpen has had a heavy workload in recent days.