Notes: Wood to play catch Saturday

Notes: Wood to play catch Saturday

ST. LOUIS -- Kerry Wood will play catch on Saturday to test his sore right shoulder, which acted up on Wednesday and forced him out of the Chicago Cubs game after three innings.

Wood received a cortisone shot on Thursday, and will miss his next scheduled start on Monday against the San Francisco Giants. The Cubs have yet to name a substitute starter.

"We'll probably make up our mind after today," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said Friday.

The list of candidates includes Sergio Mitre and Glendon Rusch, who are currently in the bullpen. The Cubs also could call up someone from the Minor Leagues, like Rich Hill.

Wood already has missed two months this season because of his shoulder, but Cubs athletic trainer Mark O'Neal said the right-hander was feeling better on Friday.

Back in action: The last time the Cubs played in St. Louis was April 20-21, which is when shortstop Nomar Garciaparra ruptured a tendon in his groin.

There's good news on Garciaparra's rehab. On Friday, he played his first game since he was injured on April 20, going four innings for the Cubs rookie team in Mesa, Ariz. He was 1-for-2 with an infield hit and a strikeout.

There's no timetable for Garciaparra's return, but the Cubs hope he can be back by the first week in August. For now, Garciaparra will play every other day in Mesa, so his next game will be Sunday.

However, outfielder Adam Greenberg, who also is in Mesa, has not been given the go-ahead to play. He suffered a concussion July 9 in Florida when he was hit by a pitch.

First in his class: This weekend features two of the best first basemen in the National League in Chicago's Derrek Lee and St. Louis' Albert Pujols.

"I have a ton of respect for him," Lee said of Pujols. "Not only is he a great player, he seems like a great person. He does this year in and year out, and that's impressive."

Lee and Pujols rank Nos. 1-2 in the National League in batting, Lee is first in home runs and Pujols is third, and the two are tied for first in RBIs.

"It'll be fun as long as our guy does better than their guy," Baker said. "You're talking about two of the best. They're two of the best, not only hitters, but Albert has made huge strides to become a very good first baseman."

Lee has gone hitless in back-to-back games four times this year, most recently July 4-5 in Atlanta. How has he avoided long slumps?

"I think that comes with experience," he said. "You figure out what you're doing wrong and how guys are getting you out, and make the adjustment quicker than when you're younger and you're more of a free swinger. That's a huge part of this game is making adjustments. It's such a long season, you have to find a way to be as consistent as possible."

Lee must love the color red. He batted .462 (18-for-39) against the Reds in nine games this year with eight home runs, three doubles and 18 RBIs. He's scored 14 runs as well. That prompts us to ask, what are the season highs by a Cubs player against one team since 1960? The answer:

Most hits: 30, Ron Santo vs. Cincinnati 1961; Billy Williams vs. San Francisco 1964; Ernie Banks vs. Milwaukee 1965.

Most runs: 22, Billy Williams vs. Montreal, 1970.

Most RBIs: 23, Ernie Banks vs. St. Louis, 1960.

Home runs: 12, Sammy Sosa vs. Milwaukee, 1998.

Hot, hot, hot: Temperatures are expected in the 90s on Saturday, and it'll be uncomfortable on the field at Busch Stadium. The Cubs have already cancelled pregame batting practice.

"The way I look at it," Baker said, "[today's players] are luckier than we were. When we were in here, and it was this hot, there was turf here. That's when it was super hot."

When Busch Stadium had turf and not grass, players used to try anything to stay cool, like place large lettuce leaves under their caps.

"I tried everything," Baker said. "Lettuce under your hats, soak your feet between innings. It's no joke. It can potentially be dangerous. They've got road construction guys working in the same conditions. You've got to take care of yourself."

Countdown to Cooperstown: Cubs second baseman Ryne Sandberg will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on July 31. In a recent conference call with the media, Sandberg was asked to describe himself as a player.

"I strived to be the best all-around player that I could be -- that's offense, defense, baserunning, bunting, being able to get the guy over to third base with a man on second and no one out, doing little things, and doing a lot of things correctly," Sandberg said. "That's kind of what I think. I was the type of player that if you've watched one game, you might not be too excited. But if you watched 162 games played, then I think you might see something."

Sandberg said he learned at a young age to separate offense from defense.

"If I wasn't at bat, I wanted to make a good play on defense," he said. "If I wasn't on defense, I wanted to do something positive for the team offensively."

Sandberg played for the Cubs from 1982-94, and again from 1996-97. He posted a career .285 average, hit 282 home runs, drove in 1,061 runs, won nine Gold Gloves and was a 10-time National League All-Star.

Lost and found: Ryan Dempster wants his mountain bike back.

Someone stole the blue and white Trek bike from Dempster's backyard on Saturday night. He would ride it the seven or eight blocks to Wrigley Field. The Cubs reliever hopes whoever took it will return it -- no questions asked.

"Just throw it in the parking lot at Wrigley late at night when nobody's looking, put it in the bike check," Dempster said. "I liked riding to the field. I'm more bummed that somebody went into the yard and stole something. You end up having to move because of things like that."

2,998 and counting: No pitcher has ever recorded his 300th win and 3,000th strikeout against the same team. However, Greg Maddux is two Ks away from 3,000 in his career, and could notch those against the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday. Maddux picked up his 300th career win against the Giants in San Fransciso on Aug. 7, 2004.

Of the eight pitchers who have 300 wins and 3,000 strikeouts, only Walter Johnson recorded his 300th win before his 3,000th K. Obviously, Maddux would be the second.

Minor matters: John Koronka gave up five runs on 11 hits and three walks over seven innings in Triple-A Iowa's 5-1 loss to Albuquerque on Thursday. Corey Patterson, who is batting second for the Iowa Cubs, was hitless in four at-bats. Scott McClain was 2-for-3 with a double. ... Renyel Pinto gave up four runs on seven hits over seven innings in Double-A West Tenn's 4-0 loss to Tennessee. Luis Montanez was 1-for-3 with a double. ...The Class A Daytona-Brevard County game was suspended because of a power outage in the sixth. ... Grant Johnson gave up one run on two hits and two walks over 5 2/3 innings while striking out four in Class A Peoria's 7-6, 10-inning loss to Lansing. Ryan Harvey was 1-for-4 with a home run.

Sing-along: If you want to tune up for next week's singers at Wrigley Field, here's a list. Deborah Gibson will sing the seventh-inning stretch on Monday night, which is '80s night at the ballpark. Former Cub Bruce Sutter will lead the crowd in "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" on Tuesday. Former Chicago Blackhawk Denis Savard will sing Wednesday, followed on Thursday by the American Girl Theatre Players and on Friday by University of Illinois football coach Ron Zook.

Gale Sayers, former Chicago Bears running back and an NFL Hall of Famer, will sing on Saturday, July 30, and actor Mark Moses of "Desperate Housewives" will be on July 31.

On deck: The Cubs will play Game 2 of this three-game set in sweaty Busch Stadium on Saturday. Drink plenty of water -- it'll be hot. Jerome Williams will make his fifth start for the Cubs against Matt Morris.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.