CHICAGO -- The best possibility for Kerry Wood's return from the disabled list is Friday, Cubs manager Lou Piniella said after watching Wood throw a simulated game Sunday morning.
Wood, who has not seen game action since July 11 due to a blister on his right index finger, tossed about 25 pitches. He did it without wearing the protective pad that he used in throwing sessions last week.
"[Wood] threw a lot of breaking balls, threw fastballs and a few cutters and didn't feel it," Piniella said. "He hadn't been out there in a while. Initially, he had problems getting the breaking ball over. Then it started getting a little more consistent when he finished up."
Bullpen catcher Corey Miller nearly took Wood deep on the first pitch of the simulated game, lining it off the left-field wall before the closer settled down.
Wood said he will meet with coaches to determine the next step before commenting. Piniella said Wood prefers to avoid a Minor League rehab assignment.
"He felt OK," Piniella said. "He looked a little rusty; that's to be expected. The important thing now is to see how he feels [on Monday]. After that, I'll put together a schedule to get him back pitching. A lot depends on [Monday]."
And if Wood feels fine on Monday?
"Then we can step it up and get him ready to pitch," Piniella said. "Once we get through the first obstacle [the finger], then we can worry about getting his arm in shape. That's why I mean stepping it up."
Nick Zaccardi is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.