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updated: 2/14/2011 7:11 PM

Older, wiser Wood happy to be back in Mesa again

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  • Cubs catcher Koyie Hill stopped long enough so we could get a closer look at the No. 10 patch Cubs players are wearing this season to honor the late Ron Santo.

       Cubs catcher Koyie Hill stopped long enough so we could get a closer look at the No. 10 patch Cubs players are wearing this season to honor the late Ron Santo.
    Bruce Miles | Staff Photographer

  • Cubs staff members are using video to help with bullpen sessions in training camp this spring. Pitching coach Mark Riggins also has a new routine with regard to the bullpen sessions.

       Cubs staff members are using video to help with bullpen sessions in training camp this spring. Pitching coach Mark Riggins also has a new routine with regard to the bullpen sessions.
    Bruce Miles | Staff Photographer

 
 

MESA, Ariz. -- Kerry Wood is back with the Cubs, a little older and a little wiser, to hear him tell it.

Wood has his old Fitch Park locker back after two years away. After a rough first half with Cleveland last year, he finished strong after being traded to the Yankees, going 2-0 with an 0.69 ERA. He then pitched in 7 postseason games.

"It was nice to be in New York the last couple months last year with some veteran guys just to see how those guys go about their business," Wood said. "There was never any panic over there when the phone rang in the bullpen. Everybody was real calm, and I'm sure Mariano (Rivera) had quite a bit to do with that. That helped me more than anything."

Now 33, Wood will set up closer Carlos Marmol along with lefty Sean Marshall. Wood first gained fame as a fireballing starter beginning in 1998. He saved 34 games for the Cubs in 2008 before signing with Cleveland. The first half of last year was no fun for Wood.

"I went over there (to New York) with a six-and-a-half ERA leaving Cleveland, and baseball wasn't fun for me," he said. "It wasn't fun coming to work every day. You get into a situation and start throwing well and doing your job and the team's winning games, and that's when you realize you play the games to win. The last two-and-a-half months for me were some of my best times in a few years.

"I think I've gotten a little bit smarter from a routine standpoint for what it takes for me to be ready to go every day. I'm smarter about my approach when I'm out there."

Honoring Ronnie:

The Cubs will wear No. 10 patches on their uniforms this year in honor of Ron Santo, who died in December. Those patches are on the spring-training uniforms.

"We'll miss him," said manager Mike Quade. "Let's win one for him, and I'm not talking about Opening Day."

Silva sent home:

Pitcher Carlos Silva was sent home from camp with a fever of 103. Silva is fighting for a rotation spot. He battled a heart ailment and elbow tendinitis late last season.

"He'll be fine, as far as what I'm hearing," Mike Quade said. "We sent him home so we don't end up with 25 guys with 103 temperature."

Moving pictures:

New pitching coach Mark Riggins is filming the pitchers throwing off the practice mounds. He's also limiting the number of pitchers to just four throwing at any one time.

"That's all what Mark wants and how he wants his camp to be run as far as throwing," Mike Quade said.

This and that:

Pitcher Angel Guzman is in camp as a nonroster player after undergoing shoulder last March 23. He said he hopes to throw live batting practice or a simulated game by March 15 Mike Quade said he has spoken with both Tyler Colvin and Jeff Baker about taking grounders at first base this spring to back up Carlos Pena.

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