Notes: Ramirez pulls out of Classic

Notes: Ramirez pulls out of Classic

MESA, Ariz. -- It's official. Chicago Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez will not be playing for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic.

Ramirez talked to Stan Javier, the Dominican team's general manager, on Friday. The Cubs were concerned about Ramirez participating in the tournament because of past leg injuries. He missed the last month of the season with a strained left quad.

Ramirez showed up in Cubs camp in good shape, and has passed all the tests.

"I would like to represent my country but I don't think I'll be 100 percent to play in early March," Ramirez said. "I'm committed to [the Cubs], and I think I owe them."

The Dominican team opens Classic play on March 7 against Venezuela. The Cubs start the Cactus League season on March 2, and Ramirez said he'll be ready for that.

"I'll be able to start and play a few innings, but that's different," Ramirez said. "If you go down there [to the World Baseball Classic], you have to play 100 percent because everybody is going to play to win. It's a different game than here. To play here, it's just to try to get ready for the season."

Ramirez will still be rooting for his countrymen, who square off against his Venezuelan teammates, Carlos Zambrano and Henry Blanco.

"I'm rooting for my country," Ramirez said. "I'm disappointed because I'd like to represent my country."

Good Wood: Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood, rehabbing from shoulder surgery, threw off the mound for the second day on Saturday and reported no problems.

"It felt good," Wood said Saturday. "I got off the mound a little [Friday] and threw 10 pitches. I got back up there again today and did a little more long toss and got really loose. I'm just working on the delivery and trying to stay smooth and have smooth arm action, so the ball was coming out pretty good today."

Wood's arm seems to respond better the second day.

"The more I throw, the better it feels and the looser it feels," Wood said. "You still want to take rest and you don't want to overdo it, but we're being pretty aggressive with it.

"I had surgery, and there are going to be days when it's a little more cranky," he said. "The more I throw, the better it feels and the looser it feels. The days when it doesn't feel as great seem to be a scar tissue issue. We'll just continue to progress."

Wood didn't look at Friday's session as being a big deal because it was his first time on the mound since undergoing the surgery in late August.

"I didn't put too much into it before I got up there," he said. "I don't want to be out there thinking, 'OK, is this going to hurt?' I came to work today just like any other day."

Wood, unfortunately, has had experience with rehab. He had elbow surgery in 1999 and missed the entire season.

"[I know] there are going to be days when it doesn't feel as good as it should, and there are going to be days when you wake up and feel like, 'Man, it feels awesome' and you think you turned the corner," Wood said. "Then, two days later, it's not as good as it was two days ago. That's the way rehab goes. You've [got] doctors' hands and instruments inside you, and people recover at different rates and different speeds. You take it as it comes and take advantage of your good days."

Cubs manager Dusty Baker said he's pleased at what he has seen so far.

"Right now, Wood is progressing like we want him to," Baker said. "We just don't want any setbacks, that's No. 1."

Quote of the day: "There is no pressure. You can't do anything about what's going on on the other side of town. You've got to give [the White Sox] their props because they are the world champions. You can't do anything about that. You have to concentrate on yourself and concentrate on your game. Basically, we play them six games and the rest of the time they're in their league and we're in our league. I know people are talking about it, but that really can't affect us at all." -- Baker, on whether the Cubs feel any pressure after the White Sox won the World Series

Extra bases: Among the pitchers who threw to hitters on Saturday were Roberto Novoa, Jerome Williams, Todd Wellemeyer, Michael Wuertz, Randy Wells, and Rich Hill. ... Saturday was WGN broadcaster Ron Santo's 66th birthday. Expect Santo to be guest conductor for the seventh inning stretch about 20 times this season. ... The Cubs will play an intrasquad game next Wednesday to tune up for the Cactus League opener March 2 against Oakland. ... Right-hander Brian Boehringer, who has pitched for the New York Yankees, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants and most recently Pittsburgh Pirates, signed a Minor League contract with the Cubs.

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