Scheduled starter Kerry Wood gets win in relief for Peoria Chiefs on rehab assignment
The ovation started when No. 36 started his walk in from the right-field bullpen.
It came four innings later than first scheduled — Kerry Wood was originally supposed to start Tuesday’s 9-3 win over the Fort Wayne Wizards. But Wood did return to Peoria as he continued his rehabilitation from shoulder problems and picked up the win.
"I feel good," Wood said. "It was fine. I warmed up and was good to go pretty quick."
It took all of one pitch for Wood to retire Michael Campbell, the first batter he faced. Campbell hit a sharp grounder right back to the mound.
"It’s always nice to be able to get an out on the first pitch," Wood said. "He hit it right in my glove."
Fort Wayne first baseman Jodam Rivera walked on five pitches.
Wood got Jesus Lopez to ground to short and Matt Stocco to fly to right to end the inning.
Wood threw 12 pitches, 11 of which were fastballs, and walked one.
"It took me a few pitches to get on the right spot on the mound and get comfortable," Wood said. "I would have liked to have thrown some more breaking balls, but I was behind in the count."
He hit between 92 to 94 mph on the radar gun.
"I think it was fine. It’s not the way he used to throw four years ago, but it’s not bad," said Cubs catcher Henry Blanco, on his own rehab assignment in Peoria, "He can get a lot of outs with that speed."
Wood said having Blanco behind the plate helped him Tuesday.
"It’s nice to throw to a familiar glove," Wood said. "It’s definitely more comfortable having someone who has caught you before. I just let him do his thing with what he called."
Wood picked up the win after spot-starter Michael Bartek went just four innings, his longest outing the season.
When it was announced that Wood was coming to Peoria, he was scheduled to pitch the first inning and be followed by Robert Hernandez.
The decision was made to have Wood pitch out of the bullpen all three outings in Peoria instead of just Thursday and Friday.
"That’s his role he’s shooting for with the Cubs," Chiefs manager Ryne Sandberg said. "He wants that feel of not starting the game. He’ll have those three chances out of the pen."
Said Wood: "I just wanted to get used to coming out of the pen and warming up quick. I’m not going to have 30 minutes before the game to warm up and I need to get used that."
Hernandez, meanwhile, was bumped back to Saturday with elbow soreness.
Bartek turned in his best outing in his first start of the year. He allowed one hit, a leadoff double in the fourth to Jon Schemmel, and walked one, Lopez in the third.
"My two-seam fastball was coming on the righties and away from the lefties," Bartek said. "I was hitting the corners pretty well, six-inches outside."
The Chiefs scored three runs in the third with three leadoff singles, including a bunt single with runners on first and second by shortstop Darwin Barney.
"It was kind of a sac bunt but he puts it down so nice it’s a base hit," Sandberg said. "That got things going in the right direction."
Blanco grounded to second but Tim King let it go through his legs and that scored two runs. Blake Lalli singled in Barney. Lalli now has hits in eight of his last nine games.
Journal Star sports reporter Kevin Capie can be reached at (309) 686-3214 or firstname.lastname@example.org.