By Paul Sullivan, Chicago Tribune –
MESA, Ariz. — Kerry Wood may not be able to pitch in 78 games like Sean Marshall did last year, but he’s confident he can be the workhorse the Cubs need him to be in 2012.
How many appearances can he make?
“It just depends,” said Wood, who pitched in 55 games last season. “I missed 21/2 weeks with (a) blister and another nine games at the end with (a sore) knee. I don’t see why 60 wouldn’t be realistic. If our staff is throwing the way we’re capable from starter to closer, it makes it a lot easier for guys to know where their role is and control their innings.”
One thing that should help Wood is manager Dale Sveum’s insistence that he will go into games if he’s been warming up in the bullpen instead of throwing and sitting back down, as he did frequently in 2011. Wood is the Cubs’ only middle reliever with a track record, so they will be counting on him to set an example.
“We need a few guys to step up and decide if they want it or not, finish strong this spring and be ready to go in April,” Wood said. “We have a couple of question marks, but we have a lot of good young arms. It’s just depends on who wants it.”