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Next test for Wood will be today against Padres
By Bruce Miles | Daily Herald Staff

Kerry Wood throws against the Oakland Athletics in spring training.


Associated Press

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Published: 3/22/200 11:55 PM

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MESA, Ariz. -- The Cubs moved pitcher Kerry Wood up one day on the schedule as they try to get him to pitch on back-to-back days.

Instead of working today and Monday, Wood took the mound Saturday and was lights-out during the seventh inning of an 8-8 tie with the White Sox.

Wood struck out Pablo Ozuna and Juan Uribe before getting Paul Konerko on a flyout. The next test comes today, when Wood works an inning against the San Diego Padres in Peoria.

Another strong outing may nail down the closer's job for Wood, who had experienced minor back spasms last week.

"Wood threw the ball very well, very well," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. "He had a very good fastball, a good breaking ball."

Second thoughts: Pablo Ozuna started at second base for the White Sox, but manager Ozzie Guillen said he also has been impressed by Alexei Ramirez.

"Right now, I think it's kind of early," Guillen said. "Everybody who has played second base is doing a good job so far. I think he (Ramirez) is getting more confidence in what he's doing out there.

"There's no doubt this kid can play baseball and no doubt he can play everywhere we put him. I'm happy with where we are. He's got a great chance to make the ballclub."

Cubs bench marks: Cubs infielder Alex Cintron's bid to make the team as a nonroster man probably has taken a big hit with his hamstring injury.

Manager Lou Piniella said Cintron is running at 85 percent.

Ronny Cedeno has come on of late, and Mike Fontenot looks like he might make it because of his bat and because he has shown himself well at shortstop this spring.

Piniella talked up first-baseman Micah Hoffpauir last weekend but said Saturday he was only being honest when he said both Hoffpauir and infielder-catcher Casey McGehee would have a tough time making the team.

Sox bench marks: Carlos Quentin was in the lineup in left field against the Cubs.

"Right now he's on the bubble," Ozzie Guillen said. "Unfortunately, he's been sick the last couple days. He's coming (back) from injury. We haven't seen that many at-bats. He's in the mix."

Concern about Eyre: Cubs lefty Scott Eyre gave up 4 hits and 3 runs in the 10th inning against the Sox. He started last year slowly and figures to be the only lefty in the Cubs' bullpen at the start of this season.

"He threw one breaking ball out of all the pitches he threw," Lou Piniella said. "He's got to mix his pitches better. I hope he learned from that."

The Cubs' most effective left-handed reliever has been Carmen Pignatiello, who has an 0.00 ERA in seven games, but he won't make the team unless something drastic happens.

"It's going real well right now," he said. "I'm going out there and challenging the hitters. I've been getting good results. I'm still here. I don't know what can happen. I've just got to go out there and keep pitching well, and whatever decision they make, that's up to them. But I'm going to do my job and hopefully make it tough on them."

Proud papa: Ozzie Guillen's son Oney scored the White Sox' go-ahead run in the 10th inning as a pinch runner for Joe Crede. The Sox brought the younger Guillen up from minor-league camp.

"I was nervous," Ozzie Guillen said. "I was more nervous than he was. It was fun. His mother got a chance to see him play."

Hill throws: Hours before Saturday's game, Cubs lefty Rich Hill threw off the main mound with pitching coach Larry Rothschild watching. Hill has had major control problems this spring, walking 14 in 12¿ innings.

Hill said he was working to "level out" his shoulders and not fall so far backward in his windup.