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Cubs’ Kerry Wood sent home with sore shoulder

MIAMI – So that’s what the whole shut-him-down-to-get-him-ready deal was with Kerry Wood in spring training.


The Cubs on Tuesday sent the setup ace home to Chicago to receive a cortisone shot in a pitching shoulder that team officials said had been an issue since spring training.


The team is characterizing the procedure as a proactive move to avoid a full-blown injury and say the hope is that he’s ready to pitch when the team opens a homestand Friday.


But general manager Jed Hoyer acknowledged the disabled list is a possibility if the injection doesn’t resolve the issue.


Wood has been on the disabled list officially 15 times in his 14-plus seasons in the big leagues.


Wood, who met behind closed doors with manager Dale Sveum before Friday’s game in St. Louis, then faced one batter that day, getting Rafael Furcal to ground out on the second pitch to end the eighth.


He hasn’t pitched since.


The team says the issue has been more a matter of Wood’s ability to ``bounce back’’ from outings than any pain or discomfort when he’s pitching.


It’s been an issue, said Hoyer, ``off and on really since the beginning of the spring.’’


During spring training, when Wood didn’t pitch for 10 days in late March and finished with just five innings all spring, Sveum and Wood denied that physical problems led to the ``ease him into the season’’ plan.


``I don’t have all the years and years of background with him like a lot of people do,’’ Hoyer said Tuesday, ``but his arm’s always been something that’s been touch-and-go. And right now we’re trying to be proactive.


``We’re 10 games into a 162-game season and trying to be smart about it and trying to get him right. Hopefully, that’s soon.’’


The Cubs already were on the hunt for bullpen help – a process that continued from the off-season into spring training and that Hoyer said over the weekend could continue throughout the summer.

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