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After 10 years with Cubs, Wood raring to go
By Bruce Miles | Daily Herald Staff

Kerry Wood loosen up during Thursday's opening of Cubs training camp in Mesa, Ariz.

 

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Published: 2/15/2008 12:20 AM

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MESA, Ariz. -- When the Cubs unveil their new media guide, the cover will feature a design of veteran players in descending order of seniority with the club.

No. 1? Kerry Wood, who has been with the team since 1998.

Does it feel like 10 years?

"It seems like 30," Wood said with a smile Thursday after pitchers and catchers finished their first day of spring workouts. "There's been some rough ones in there, but hopefully, I can go for a little longer."

Wood arrived for the first time in what seems like an eternity without any injury issues. He started last season late because of shoulder problems but managed to pitch in 22 games, all in relief. Wood said he put on some "good weight" after being "too thin" last year.

"It's great," he said of this year's feeling. "I felt great when I finished the season last year. It felt like June for me last year when the season was over because I got such a late start. I took a little bit of time off from throwing, not much, and got right back to it. It's nice to come into camp. My body feels good, and I'm ready to go."

Wood would not be drawn into any media-created controversy over who will close games this year. Bob Howry is the front-runner, with Wood and Carlos Marmol there if that doesn't work out.

"I think it's going to be good," Wood said of the competition, adding he has no preference. "I think we've got a great bullpen, a setup for a great bullpen, a lot of good arms down there. I know the staff and Lou (manager Piniella) will pick, obviously, the right guy to help this team win.

"I feel confident with the way guys are throwing the ball and the arms we have down there."

Wood also wanted no part of any questions about Roger Clemens and steroids. He also said he knew a question would come up about former teammate Mark Prior, the oft-injured former star who's now with the Padres.

"I wish him the best," Wood said. "He's worked hard. I know he had a big (shoulder) surgery. I'm pulling for him to get healthy and hope he has a good year. It's a little bit different not having him here. I think I saw (Kevin) Hart had (uniform number) 22. That was a little weird seeing somebody else wear it."