Notes: Wood's second start even better

Notes: Wood's second start better

CHICAGO -- Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood threw 17 pitches in one inning Tuesday in his second Minor League rehab start, and he said he felt better than his first outing.

Wood, trying to come back from shoulder problems, made his second start for the Mesa Rookie League team in Mesa, Ariz., on Tuesday. On Saturday, in his first game, he struck out the side and threw 14 pitches.

Wood's final line Tuesday against the Padres rookie team was one run on two hits over one inning with one strikeout.

"I threw the ball well," Wood said by phone from Arizona about Tuesday's game. "The velocity is the same. I located the ball much better today -- I gave up a couple hits. One was a double on a hanging slider. There was a 1-2 broken-bat flare over the infield. I did give up a run, but it felt great. I think I threw better this time than last time."

The plan for the week is to have Wood rest Wednesday, pitch again for the Mesa team on Thursday, rest Friday and pitch Saturday. And if all goes well?

"I don't want to get too far ahead of myself," Wood said. "I'm just going to keep it going and not ask questions why and just keep going."

He'll fly to Chicago after Saturday's outing to host the fourth annual Kerry Wood Strike Zone Celebrity Bowling Tournament, which will be held Sunday at the 10 Pin Bowling Lounge in Chicago. Bidding for the online auction will close at midnight CT on Saturday and carry over live to the event. Online bidders will be notified of their winning bids on July 24.

Proceeds from the event will go toward Project 3000, created to advance the research and understanding of Leber's Congenital Amaurosis, a rare genetic eye disease which has affected Derrek Lee's daughter, Jada.

"The interest is definitely there this year, and there's been a lot more interest than in the past," Wood said. "We're trying to raise awareness for Project 3000 so more people can come forward and get the testing they need. Awareness is a big goal of ours."

Among the items being auctioned are dinners for four with Cubs manager Lou Piniella, Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg and general manager Jim Hendry, the chance to throw a ceremonial first pitch at Wrigley in 2008, autographed jerseys, bats and balls, and an autographed urinal from the Cubs clubhouse.

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Roster move: The Cubs optioned catcher Geovany Soto to Iowa to make room on the roster for Jason Kendall, who started and batted seventh on Tuesday, his first day with the team.

"We like Soto," Piniella said. "We like his future. I thought he handled himself very well, the two games he caught. He did a nice job with the pitching staff. He made a couple nice throws to second base on steal attempts. This kid is going to swing the bat -- he's going to hit with a little power. I'm not talking .300 batting average, but he'll hit with some power."

Kendall, acquired Monday from the Oakland Athletics for Rob Bowen and a Minor League pitcher, is the Cubs' sixth different catcher this season. The list includes Michael Barrett, Henry Blanco, Koyie Hill, Rob Bowen and Soto.

"How about that? We've only had six starting pitchers, right? One for each," Piniella said.

Expect Kendall to catch four to five days a week to get familiar with the pitching staff.

"He's an experienced guy who played on winning teams," Piniella said. "He's a grinder. He likes to play, he likes to win. We're very happy to have him here."

The Cubs may not be finished tinkering with the roster.

"Possibly just a little more tinkering," Piniella said. "We'll see. If Jim [Hendry] can improve this baseball team, he will, believe me."

The Cubs seem to have been in a constant state of flux this season.

"That's what a manager gets paid for -- you have to try things and look for answers," Piniella said. "For us, we've looked for [answers] in our own system. I was talking to our Minor League hitting instructor [Dave Keller] yesterday, and these kids down there know we'll call them up if they're doing well and we need help in a particular area, and he said it's really picked up the system.

"This really isn't work," Piniella said. "This is what you get paid for."

Piniella talks to the front office about what the team needs and gets recommendations from the Minor League staff.

"We've brought up kids who weren't even on the roster," he said, citing Mike Fontenot and Billy Petrick. "Give credit to them -- the Minor League people who are helping and the front office which is making the decisions."

Step by step: Ryan Dempster threw 12 pitches, nine for strikes, in one inning Tuesday night for Iowa. Dempster started against Round Rock, and struck out one in his first rehab outing.

The Cubs closer, who has been on the disabled list since June 23 with a strained left oblique, was scheduled to pitch again Thursday for Iowa.

Unruly behavior: Piniella didn't understand why bleacher fans threw garbage onto the field Monday night after Aramis Ramirez's clutch two-run double. Play had to be halted so the grounds crew could clear the debris.

"I hope I don't get fined for that," Piniella said, jokingly.

He was unsure what prompted the behavior. Told it was probably a celebration, he smiled.

"Well, the bulls finally stopped running in Pamplona, maybe that's why," he said.

Extra bases: Barry Bonds did not start Tuesday night for the Giants. "I'm sure he'll be in there [Wednesday]," Piniella said. ... No word yet from Major League Baseball regarding Lee's hearing about the fight June 16 against San Diego. Lee is appealing a five-game suspension. ... The current 25-man roster features eight players who were not on the Opening Day roster, including Petrick, Fontenot, Kendall, Sean Gallagher, Carlos Marmol, Sean Marshall, Koyie Hill and Angel Pagan. ... WGN Radio's Pat Hughes will lead the crowd during the seventh-inning stretch on Thursday instead of his partner, Ron Santo. ... The Cubs' game Aug. 5 will be broadcast on ESPN and start at 7:05 p.m. CT. The July 30 game vs. Philadelphia has been changed and will start at 6:05 p.m. CT.

Minor matters: Matt Murton, Scott Moore, Felix Pie and John Nelson each homered to lead Iowa to a 10-3 victory over Round Rock on Monday. Murton is batting .372 with three homers and 10 RBIs in his last 10 games. ... Double-A Tennessee had the day off. ... Class A Daytona split a doubleheader against Sarasota, losing the first game, 10-2, and winning the second, 3-2. Jeff Samardzija gave up five runs, three earned, on nine hits over 5 2/3 innings to take the loss in the opener. He's now 2-6 with a 4.67 ERA. Scott Koerber gave up two runs on four hits over four innings in the second game. ... Class A Peoria had the day off. ... Arik Hempy gave up two runs on three hits over five innings in Class A Boise's 7-3 win over Tri-City.

Tennessee made several roster moves, adding infielders Robinson Chirinos and Nate Spears, catcher Alan Rick and outfielder Chris Walker from Daytona. Also, outfielder Jorge Cortes and infielder Carlos Rojas were promoted to Triple-A Iowa.

Catcher Steven Clevenger joined Daytona from Boise, and infielder Jonathan Mota and outfielders Matt Camp and Alfred Joseph were moved up to Daytona from Peoria.

On deck: Carlos Zambrano will start the third of this four-game series against Matt Cain and the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday. Big Z is 3-0 in six games, including five starts, in his career against the Giants. First pitch is scheduled for 1:20 p.m. CT, and the game will be broadcast on WGN TV.

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