Kerry Wood, Ryan Dempster showing progress for Cubs
BY GORDON WITTENMYER @gdubcub April 27, 2012 6:26PM
PHILADELPHIA—The Cubs anticipate getting a boost for their pitching staff by the end of this weeklong road trip after Kerry Wood and Ryan Dempster progressed in bullpen sessions Friday.
Wood (shoulder) threw 25 pitches, using breaking stuff for the first time since going on the DL and if he responds well today, manager Dale Sveum said a simulated game will be scheduled for Monday.
If that goes well, Wood could return to his setup role Thursday in Cincinnati.
Dempster (quad), the Cubs’ top starter (1.33 ERA), threw a bullpen and ran during pregame work Friday and also is expected to return Thursday, his first eligible day.
That puts into limbo the status of Randy Wells, the veteran big-league starter who was at AAA Iowa before taking over for Dempster and has one more start Saturday before Dempster would return.
``We’ll make those decisions when they all come up and see what happens,’’ Sveum said, ``but we haven’t gotten to that step yet.’’
Jeff Samardzija, an opening member of the Cubs’ rotation for the first time, has been pushed back a day in the rotation as part of a preseason plan to manage his workload this season.
He’ll start Tuesday’s series opener in Cincinnati, putting him on a seventh day since pitching 6 2/3 scoreless innings against St. Louis at home. Using Thursday’s off day, Chris Volstad moves up a day to go on a normal fifth day Monday.
``Anytime we can use that to our advantage [we will],’’ Sveum said, ``and see if we can monitor the pitch counts and the innings. It’s just going to benefit him in the long run.’’
Samardzija (2-1, 4.13) has not pitched more than 141 2/3 in a season at any level.
—Deciding against skipping Cliff Lee’s injury replacement, Kyle Kendrick, in the rotation, the Phillies will start Kendrick (0-1, 9.39) Sunday against Matt Garza, with Vance Worley (2-1, 2.16) pitching Monday’s series finale.