PITTSBURGH -- Chicago Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood may be ready for a real game soon.
Wood threw 51 pitches in a three-inning simulated game on Saturday in Mesa, Ariz., at the Cubs' extended Spring Training facility. The next step will be to have Wood meet the Cubs in Los Angeles on Monday and throw for pitching coach Larry Rothschild and the medical staff.
A decision will be made at that point as to whether Wood will throw another simulated game or make a Minor League rehab start.
"We're trying not to get that far ahead of ourselves," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said Saturday. "We're trying to take it slower versus faster. He is a rehab player. We'll analyze him and see how he feels."
Wood is antsy to get going. He underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder in late August and has not had any setbacks.
"I talked to him the other day, and he said that's the best he's felt," Baker said. "We want to continue on that same progress and not have an interruption of any kind."
It would seem obvious the next step is a rehab outing, but the Cubs will wait before announcing the next step.
"It seems like it, but we have to see him first and talk to him, see how he feels after [Monday's session]," Baker said. "You talk to him and he's in a hurry. We're in a hurry to have him, but we don't want to do anything to set him back."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.