Kerry Wood left his last start after throwing 38 pitches over two innings. (AP)
CHICAGO -- Kerry Wood threw 10-12 pitches pain-free off the mound Tuesday, but the Chicago Cubs pitcher said it was too soon to say whether he could return to the rotation this weekend.
"We'll probably know more [Wednesday] and go from there," Wood said.
Wood, 26, came out of his last start against Los Angeles on May 11 after throwing 38 pitches over two innings because of tightness and soreness in his right triceps. He was examined by orthopedic specialist Dr. Lewis Yocum and underwent an MRI, which did not reveal any structural damage.
Wood has missed one start in the rotation, with lefty Glendon Rusch making a spot start Sunday against San Diego. If the Cubs stay on schedule, the right-hander's next start would be Saturday against St. Louis.
"We can't make a decision until we see how everything feels [Wednesday]," Wood said. "I threw pain-free today and we'll wait and see how [Wednesday] feels and go from there."
He said the pain in his triceps lasted a couple days after May 11 but was then gone.
"Getting through today felt good and we'll see," Wood said.
"I'll be more relieved when I know he's ready to go to the mound," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "It's one step at a time."
Kerry Wood / P
Weight: 225 lbs
Bats: R / Throws: R
He's also not going to rush things. Wood has dealt with enough injuries in his young career. He missed all of the 1999 season following reconstructive surgery on his right elbow.
"If I don't feel 100 percent, I'm not going to go back out there and risk something here in May," Wood said. "I expect to feel good and I expect to be back out there pretty soon."
On Tuesday, he had no pain. But he also wasn't facing any hitters.
"I didn't have game adrenaline and I wasn't trying to throw fastballs by people," he said. "I was trying to stay smooth with my mechanics and my delivery and have a pain-free day, and that's what we did."
The pain was unsettling, Wood admitted.
"This is what I do for a living," he said, "and you have something wrong with your arm and you don't know what it is, obviously it can be scary. I think we made a good decision to get out of the game after two innings."
Wood has topped 100 pitches in all but two of his seven starts and threw 131 on April 17 against Cincinnati. He doesn't expect to be too limited when he returns.
"I'm sure the first time out, I'm not going to throw 140 [pitches]," he said. "I expect to go out and pitch the way I pitch. When I'm healthy, I can throw 120 pitches and I expect to be able to do that."
The right-hander is not sure why he experienced the discomfort in his triceps or how it happened. His goal now is how to fix it.
"It's not something we'll play around with," he said. "We'll make sure I'm healthy and when that day comes and I can go out there and let everything go 100 percent, I'm going to pitch."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.