Wood: 'I feel great'

Updated: June 24, 2005, 11:55 PM ET
Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Kerry Wood, who made his third and final rehabilitation start for the Iowa Cubs on Friday night, said he's ready to rejoin the Chicago Cubs.

"I felt great actually," said Wood, who worked into the sixth inning and allowed one run on four hits. "The ball was coming out good and I had good location on the fastball."

Wood, who went on the disabled list early last month with a strain of his pitching shoulder struck out nine and walked one.

Oklahoma's only run against the right-hander was a solo homer by Jason Botts to open the fourth inning. Wood left the game trailing by that lone run, but a franchise-record crowd of 13,669 saw Iowa score twice in the bottom of the eighth to win 2-1.

"Guys hit home runs, that's part of the game of baseball," said Wood, adding that he didn't make a bad pitch to Botts.

Wood, to make up to 90 pitches, threw 84 -- 58 of them strikes. He threw just 11 pitches in the first inning, 10 of them strikes. He gave up a first-pitch single to Manny Alexander, then struck out the next three batters he faced.

Wood struck out the first two hitters he faced in the second, then gave up a leadoff walk to Keith McDonald in the third. He surrendered a single to Ian Kinsler later in the inning but escaped unscathed.

After Botts homered to open the third, Wood retired six batters in a row before allowing a leadoff single to Kinsler in the sixth. He then got the next two hitters out before giving way to Russ Rohlicek.

Wood said the outing was the best of his three rehab starts with Iowa.

"Today it was actually nice to get out there and repeat good pitches," he said.

Wood hit 97 mph on the radar gun a couple of times, but most of his pitches were in the low 90s. He said he wasn't trying to overthrow.

"Today was smooth and the ball was coming out ... it felt like it was nice and easy so I'm planning to stay right there," he said.

Wood planned to return to Chicago with hopes of starting Wednesday against Milwaukee.

"We've got other guys up there that have been pitching in a set rotation so I don't know if I can come in and screw that up," Wood said. "We've got an off day coming up so we can play around with it a little bit, but we'll just have to wait and see."

Wood said there's not doubt he's ready to rejoin the Chicago rotation.

"I feel as good as I've felt since my injury last year," said Wood, who also made a rehabilitation start for Iowa last season.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press