Wood to be examined, may miss start

Wood to be examined, may miss start

HOUSTON -- Chicago Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood flew to Cincinnati on Wednesday to be examined by Dr. Tim Kremchek and is questionable for his next start.

Wood lasted 3 2/3 innings against the Houston Astros on Tuesday, his fourth start after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder in late August. He's had trouble recovering between starts and was given two extra days before Tuesday's game.

Wood (1-2, 4.12 ERA) was scheduled to start Sunday against the Cincinnati Reds. Cubs manager Dusty Baker said Wood now is "questionable" and rookie Carlos Marmol, who has made two relief appearances since being called up from Double-A West Tenn, could sub.

Kremchek performed the arthroscopic surgery on Wood's shoulder, and Cubs athletic trainer Mark O'Neal said they wanted to get the pitcher there now to be examined rather than wait until Thursday. Plus, seeing Wood the day after he starts could give Kremchek a better diagnostic advantage, O'Neal said.

"[Wood] has never used the word 'pain,'" O'Neal said. "[The problem is] going out there and trying to get loose and let him get going in the next inning. It's nothing most people coming back from surgery don't go through. [The shoulder] is a very temperamental joint."

"I could tell he wasn't as loose as he has been," Baker said. "He fought through it [Tuesday]. It's a situation where he's still sort of post-rehab. We just have to re-evaluate things, re-evaluate him."

O'Neal said he didn't anticipate that Kremchek would find anything significantly wrong with Wood's shoulder.

"We're trying to do everything we can to help him get through this," O'Neal said.

Wood, 28, sounded frustrated after Tuesday's start.

"He is frustrated," O'Neal said. "Mentally, it's just a grind. We're trying to be as supportive for him as we possibly can and let him know, 'Let's be proactive and get it done and not wait another day.'"

Wood's cranky shoulder is not keeping him from pitching. He's just not able to pitch well and his velocity is down.

"I think everyone agrees that he'd like his stuff to be better than it is now," O'Neal said.

Baker said Wood's situation will have no impact on Mark Prior's rehab. Prior, who is recovering from a strained muscle in his right shoulder, is expected to make his third Minor League rehab start on Thursday at Double-A West Tenn. He will make at least one more start, possibly two, Baker said. Prior won't be rushed.

"That would be detrimental to both [pitchers]," Baker said.

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