CHICAGO (AP) -Kerry Wood plans to throw a baseball for the first time in nearly two months on Monday, the latest step in yet another comeback attempt by the Chicago Cubs' injury-plagued righty.
Wood said Saturday he still wants to pitch this season. He hasn't thrown since a spring training game March 25 when he made 18 pitches in relief and felt weakness in his right shoulder.
Wood, who has been working out for nearly three weeks to strengthen the shoulder, had been bothered by tendinitis. He said he an injection a couple of weeks ago to relieve the inflammation.
``I think we put the fire out, so we got back to work and have been taxing it pretty good the last couple of weeks and it responded. I haven't had any stiffness or soreness or anything I've had in the past as far as to this point,'' Wood said.
``Again, it means nothing until I throw a ball.''
The plan is to play catch Monday on flat ground and go from there.
Wood, the 1998 NL Rookie of the Year, has been to the disabled list 11 times in his major league career and made only four appearances last season. He'll turn 30 next month and is still hoping he can make it back this season.
``Absolutely. I wouldn't be here, I wouldn't be out there still working if I didn't feel like I had a chance to contribute at some point,'' Wood said. ``It's kind of my job to get out there and help. I know I haven't done it. But I'll do what I can.''
Wood visited Dr. Dave Altchek, an orthopedic specialist with the New York Mets, last month and was told he did not need surgery.
Over the offseason, Wood chose to rehab a partially torn rotator cuff. He came to spring training camp ready to pitch out of the bullpen, having lost 30 pounds through diet and exercise.
But he had setbacks. He slipped getting out of a hot tub, hurting his ribs. Then a triceps injury slowed him down before his shoulder sent him to the DL again.
``It is a long process for him, but he's gotten to the point where he's worked his way back and he can throwing again and we'll see where that leads,'' Cubs manager Lou Piniella said Saturday.
``Hopefully this young man can stay healthy and get himself to the point where we can get him back in Chicago,'' he said.

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