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Notes: Wood ready to test arm06/02/2004 6:14 PM ET
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- Chicago Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood will test his right arm at the end of the week and throw for the first time since May 23.
Wood has been on the disabled list since May 12 because of an inflamed right triceps. He tried to throw at Wrigley Field on May 23, but ended that session early after eight pitches. He's done his cardio work in the meantime but has shut down his arm in hopes of getting the inflammation to go away.
"I'm not too concerned," Wood said of the injury. "I'm a little concerned because it's my arm. I'm really not that concerned that it's a career-changing thing. We're being real precautionary and making sure it's nothing.
"Fans can relax," he said. "We have Mark (Prior) coming back. They're getting healthy. I'd say relax."
Prior will make his season debut Friday against Pittsburgh, giving the Cubs one less player on the disabled list.
Rocket man: Todd Walker entered Wednesday's game 11-for-28 in his career against Roger Clemens, but that was when Clemens was in the American League.
"He'll be totally different today than what I've seen from last year," Walker said of Clemens, who started for the Houston Astros in the series finale against the Cubs.
Clemens was riding a seven-game win streak, has 317 career wins, and is one of nine pitchers to win the Cy Young and MVP award in the same season (1986).
"He's not 7-0 for nothing," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "We beat him here last year. The way I look at it, we might as well be the first ones. Back in the day, we were psyched on this day. You were trying to figure out how you're going to beat him."
Walker feels the same way.
"(Clemens) doesn't intimidate anybody in this clubhouse, no," Walker said. "If he hits you, he hits you. There's no intimidation, as long as it's not in the head. He's a great pitcher, one of the greatest ever. It's more a battle on our part to try to get a hit, especially this year."
Maybe switching from the American League to the National League has helped Clemens.
"It might have a little to do with it," Walker said. "I'm a big believer in the fact that the more a pitcher and hitter face each other, the more it's the hitter's advantage because you know what they've got."
But does Walker wish Clemens would've retired as he said he was going to do after last season?
"I don't know -- that's hard to say," Walker said. "He's not unhittable. I think we'll put some good at-bats against him. You're never anxious to face a guy who has the numbers he's got."
Patience: Center-fielder Corey Patterson went 1-for-4 with three strikeouts Tuesday, including two whiffs when the Cubs had the bases loaded and none out.
After the game, Patterson said, "I'm never going to apologize for being aggressive. Yeah, I went out of the zone. You have to do a little better, and I know I could do better. But I'm never going to apologize for being aggressive."
On Wednesday, Baker was asked about Patterson's approach.
"He's supposed to be aggressive," Baker said, "but you have to be aggressive with strikes. They don't call it balls and strikes for nothing. I don't want him to apologize, just concentrate and focus on swinging at strikes."
And Patterson, 24, has to learn how to do it himself, Baker said.
"The opposing team has made adjustments to him," Baker said. "It's up to him and other players to make adjustments back. It's not all Corey. It's been a lot of people. It just happened that it's Corey (Tuesday) night. You hit by yourself. You can put a guy in a direction, you can talk to him, school people, but when it comes time for hitting, pitching, fielding, catching, you're by yourself."
Patterson was batting .298 before he suffered a season-ending knee injury last July 6 and seemed more patient at the plate. Will he figure it out?
"Who knows?" Baker said. "It's just like your kids -- you want them to figure it out before they leave home. Some figure it out at 30, some figure it out at 15. Should a guy figure it out? Everybody's pace is different."
The Wrigley Field fans didn't respond well to Patterson's at-bats and booed him.
"Two things can happen -- it breaks you or it makes you stronger," Baker said. "You realize how the world really is, no suger coating, no more 'They like me.' I'm teaching my son not to boo."
Is it working?
"My wife took him to a Giants game and they were booing somebody, and he started booing, too," Baker said. "I'm going to keep telling him. She said he was booing with the rest of them."
One million strong: The Cubs have drawn 980,189 fans in 25 home dates after Wednesday's game and were closing in on one million in attendance.
Last year, after 24 home dates, the Cubs had drawn 817,712. At their current pace, the Cubs would draw 3,178,720 fans this season, which would be a first. The Cubs have never reached three million fans in a season.
The Cubs first reached the one million mark in 1927 with 1,159,168 fans. They were the first National League club to draw one million in a season. The Yankees had reached one million fans seven times and the Tigers once. The Cubs first reached the two million mark in 1984 with 2,107,655.
Roster move: After Wednesday's game, the Cubs optioned right-handed pitcher Sergio Mitre to Triple-A Iowa. No corresponding move was made, however, it was done to create an opening for Mark Prior, who was on the 60-day disabled list. Prior's DL time officially ends Thursday. Mitre was 2-4 with a 6.51 ERA in nine starts, giving up 34 earned runs over 47 innings.
Extra bases: Greg Maddux did his normal side session Wednesday and reported no problems. Maddux experienced a mild strain of the intercostal muscle in his last start Monday, but was not expected to miss his next outing Sunday. ... Reliever Kent Mercker threw to hitters on Wednesday to test his back. He could be activated on Friday.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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