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Wood's blister problem remains

Wood's blister problem remains

CHICAGO -- The Cubs could be without closer Kerry Wood in the upcoming series against National League Central rival Milwaukee, while Alfonso Soriano is still having some timing issues with his swing.

Wood, on the disabled list because of a nagging blister on his right hand, did throw a side session on Sunday, wearing protection on his finger."

"It has been slow, but at the same time, you want to get it right so you don't keep re-doing it," Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said. "If it's a chronic problem, you have to pitch through it. He's been to every doctor, specialist, dermatologist, hand specialist."

Everyone who has examined Wood has agreed it's a blister, and there aren't any fractures or impediments under the skin that caused it.

"Woody's the kind of guy who, at the end of the day, if he has to, he'll throw through it," Hendry said. "But we want to give it the best chance to heal first."

Wood has 24 saves in 29 opportunities, and Carlos Marmol and Bob Howry have been sharing the closer duties. The Cubs are looking at the big picture, and want Wood for the stretch run and not just four games in Milwaukee, even though the two teams began play Sunday tied for first in the division. Chicago makes its first trip to Miller Park on Monday.

Soriano is 3-for-18 since he came off the disabled list last Wednesday after missing six weeks because of a broken bone in his left hand.

"It's just a month and a half of not playing and [the problem] is timing," Soriano said. "It's not because my hand was sore, it's more that I lost my timing by not playing. My hand is fine. I just need more time to get my timing."

Cubs manager Lou Piniella said Soriano, who was batting .325 in 37 games before he was hurt, just needs a few more at-bats.

"His hands are fine, no pain, and I think he's getting his strength back," Piniella said. "But he's got that unorthodox hitting style that requires timing. In the time that he's been here, he's been hot and cold as it is."

Jim Edmonds made his first start since July 22 on Sunday. He's been bothered by a sore left knee, although he was able to pinch-hit on Friday.

With the players returning to action, Hendry is not expected to be active at the Trade Deadline, despite the team's recent struggles offensively. The Cubs got a head start when they acquired Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin earlier this month.

"When we're playing on normal cylinders, there isn't anybody I'd like to get rid of," Hendry said. "It's just a matter of our marquee guys getting back on track. You don't keep [Aramis] Ramirez, and [Derrek] Lee and Soriano down for long. It's just a matter of those type of guys doing what they normally do, and I have every reason to believe they will."

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

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