Wood likely to start against Nationals on Thursday

CHICAGO -- Kerry Wood, coming back from arthroscopic shoulder surgery, most likely will make his first start of the season Thursday when the Chicago Cubs play the Washington Nationals.

Wood allowed a run on five hits and struck out three in five innings Friday in a rehab start for Triple-A Iowa.

"I had a couple outings where I had real good stuff," said
Wood, who also threw five scoreless innings in a rehab start with
Class A Peoria last Sunday. "Last night, I didn't have my best
stuff, but I was able to make good pitches and not make a lot of
mistakes. I felt good this morning. It's a good sign."

The 1998 NL Rookie of the Year, Wood has been plagued by injuries throughout his career. He went on the disabled list three times last season and was relegated to relief work before having surgery on his right shoulder on Aug. 31. He finished with a 3-4 record and 4.23 ERA in 21 games that included 10 starts.

The Cubs ranked 13th in the National League with a 4.79 ERA entering Saturday's game against San Diego. And their starters had
nine victories -- five by Greg Maddux, who was scheduled to pitch on
"We're very excited to get [Wood] back," Cubs manager Dusty
Baker said. "It's great to see him in the locker room. He's a big
part of this ballclub. He's part of the leadership on our pitching

Also Saturday, the Cubs called up right-handed pitcher Jae Kuk Ryu from Iowa and optioned right-hander Angel Guzman to Triple-A.

Ryu -- 1-3 with a 3.21 ERA in seven starts for Iowa -- will likely
be used in relief.

Guzman is 0-2 with a 7.00 ERA in four starts for the Cubs. He
walked five batters, hit one, threw a wild pitch and allowed two
runs in three innings in Friday's start, but it did not figure in
the decision as the Cubs lost 10-5.