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Hendry: Team getting healthy - slowly
By Bruce Miles | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 7/19/2008 12:06 AM

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HOUSTON - Cubs general manager Jim Hendry sounded a cautiously optimistic tone Friday about his team's health situation.

"We're getting healthier, but we're not quite there yet," Hendry said before the Cubs resumed play after the all-star break. "Hopefully a week from now, we'll be a fully armed club."

Here's the long and short of it:

• Left fielder Alfonso Soriano took batting practice Friday and said his broken left hand is feeling "great." If all goes well, he'll hit here the next two days and then accompany the team to Arizona.

The Cubs will send him to their complex in Mesa, where he can get 6-7 at-bats in extended spring training Monday. Hendry said Soriano could join Class AAA Iowa Tuesday and Wednesday in Tucson and play in two games before rejoining the club Thursday at Wrigley Field for the game against Florida.

• Closer Kerry Wood was not available for Friday's game because of the blister on his right index finger.

Manager Lou Piniella didn't want to give any information to the Astros before Friday's game.

"He's a lot better," Piniella said.

Is he available?

"I said he's a lot better," Piniella repeated. "That's about as far as I'm going to go."

It's possible Wood could pitch by Sunday, but the Cubs may hold him out until Monday.

• Lefty reliever Scott Eyre threw for pitching coach Larry Rothschild Friday and will do another bullpen session today.

"Scotty's champing at the bit to come back," Hendry said. "He won't be active tonight or tomorrow. We'll play it by ear after that. He doesn't have to go out again."

Hendry was referring to a minor-league rehab assignment, something Eyre just completed after being out since late June with a strained left groin. Eyre would just as soon pitch for the Cubs, and he can veto another rehab stint.

"We've struggled with this injury bug the first half," Piniella said. "Let's get healthy and just play."