Wood Could Return to Cubs on Friday

Eight rehab outings at different levels and a bullpen session in Cincinnati with pitching coach Larry Rothschild revealed he can pitch effectively and without the pain in his shoulder that has bothered him since the 2005 season. The next time he pitches for the Cubs, it will be his first major league assignment since June 6, 2006.

A year ago Wood made only four starts. This spring his comeback was sidelined by more discomfort and there was a time during his rehab that it appeared another surgery was inevitable. But then remarkably, and inexplicably, the pain subsided.

Now the Cubs have sort of a new relief pitcher -- one who will work in the middle innings -- who can throw in the mid 90s.

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