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posted: 4/17/2012 10:23 PM

Cubs' Wood returns to Chicago with shoulder problem

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Cubs fans have heard this one before: Pitcher Kerry Wood went back to Chicago Tuesday for medical attention.

This time it's for a cortisone injection in his right shoulder.

Wood, who re-signed with the Cubs this past winter for $3 million, pitched only 5 innings in spring training, with the Cubs taking it easy on him most of the way.

Apparently, there was good reason.

"It's been a little off and on, really, since the beginning of spring," said general manager Jed Hoyer before the Cubs lost 5-2 to the Miami Marlins. "Try to get him right."

Hoyer and the Cubs say they hope Wood can return to action Friday at home against the Cincinnati Reds. Until they hear otherwise, they say they aren't thinking about the disabled list yet. But if things aren't better by the weekend, the DL is a real possibility.

"It's always something that's touch and go, and right now, we're trying to be proactive," Hoyer said. "We're 10 games into a 162-game season. We're trying to be smart about it. We're going to try to let him get it right here and get him back real soon."

Hard-luck ace:

Ryan Dempster is the early hard-luck starting pitcher for the 3-8 Cubs. He turned in his third quality start in 3 outings but came away with a no-decision. Dempster is 0-1 with a 1.33 ERA.

Of the 5 runs the Marlins scored, only 2 were earned. Dempster threw wildly for an error in the fifth inning, leading to 2 unearned runs. In the bottom of the eighth, with the game tied at 2-2, second baseman Darwin Barney committed an error on Jose Reyes' error to start the inning. The Marlins got a 3-run homer from Hanley Ramirez off reliever Rafael Dolis (0-1).

Dempster said he isn't feeling snakebit.

"I wish I could have thrown the ball better to first base," he said. "The results would have been different. It (stinks). I had Stewie (third baseman Ian Stewart) right there to field the ball. I just instinctively reached for it and made a bad throw and gave them 2 runs out of it."

Manager Dale Sveum liked Dempster's stuff on the mound.

"That's probably about as good as you'll ever see him throw a baseball," the manager said. "Every pitch he had was through the course of the game, he might have made two mistakes."

Clevenger pushing:

Backup Steve Clevenger started in place of Geovany Soto behind the plate and went 1-for-3 with a double. Clevenger is 7-for-13 (.538), while Soto is off to a 4-for-29 (.138) start.

Dale Sveum reiterated that Clevenger still is likely to start two of every seven games. With Monday's scheduled off-day, Soto got two full days of rest.

Still, Sveum praised Clevenger.

"He's got what you call a slump-proof hack," he said. "It's very simple. He uses his hands. He doesn't get too big. He understands velocity. He understands what he has to do with velocity."

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