Cubs cautious with pitchers Wood, Prior

Sunday, February 26, 2006

The Chicago Cubs are taking their time with two of their best pitchers.

Mark Prior and Kerry Wood threw in their first appearances off a pitching mound this spring on Friday.

Wood is recovering from arthroscopic shoulder surgery on Aug. 31.

The Cubs are going slowly with Prior in an attempt to avoid elbow problems that bothered him the previous two springs.

"It felt a little awkward," Prior said. "But it was good to get up there and to start working to try to get down there on a nice angle and see a guy with a catcher's mitt and get after it."

Chicago says Prior will pitch in an exhibition game in early March, perhaps the second time through the rotation.

Pitching coach Larry Rothschild said Prior is still in line to start during the team's first regular-season series in Cincinnati.

"He looked OK, for where we are," Rothschild said. "He finished up pretty strong. We'll pick it up there the next time."

Prior said he threw at about 50 percent exertion on the 20 pitches from the mound Friday at Cubs camp in Mesa, Ariz.

Rothschild said Wood threw about 15 pitches from the mound.

"He threw off the mound toward the end, really just to get him up on the hill and get used to the slope again and get his balance and things like that right," Rothschild said.

Bagwell's future uncertain

Jeff Bagwell arrived at Houston's spring training camp, but his future still is unclear because the Astros filed an insurance claim stating that he's too hurt to play.

"This is what I do, this is who I am," Bagwell said. "I can't just go away. That's not in my nature.

"I'm going to need a couple of weeks to see where I'm at and then make a decision from there."

Bagwell had surgery in June on his right shoulder.

The Astros want to recoup about $15.6 million of the $17 million he is guaranteed this season.

The 37-year-old first baseman fielded grounders, made light throws and spent most of the team's first full-squad workout in the batting cage.

New dad Drew reports

Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder J.D. Drew reported to camp and participated in his first workout of spring training. Drew was a late arrival because he was home with his wife, Sheigh, following the birth of their first child, Jack David, last weekend.

"J.D. feels good. He's a proud papa," Dodgers manager Grady Little said. "He was glad of what he was able to accomplish at home, and also very glad to be here."

-- The Associated Press

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