CHICAGO -- Cubs third baseman Ian Stewart said he's gained more peace of mind after surgery on his left wrist, which has bothered him for the last few years.
"Over those two or three years, there's a lot of cortisone shots, a lot of MRIs, X-rays, with nothing ever showing up," Stewart said. "It had been weighing on me a lot, especially over here, being with a new team and wanting to prove myself."
Stewart visited Dr. Thomas Graham in Cleveland after multiple doctors failed to find any structural damage. Stewart said Graham also had trouble finding any issues until putting his wrist under a fluoroscope and comparing the movement between both of his wrists.
That's when Stewart said Graham had an "Aha" moment.
"On the screen, he saw one of the bones on the outer part of my wrist was overlapping the bone next to it, which really means it's touching it and they're kind of rubbing together," Stewart said. "He kind of went from there and realized that's not what's supposed to happen."
Stewart, who had a bone taken out of his wrist, said there's no timetable for his return. He will get the sling removed in a couple of weeks, when he'll return to Cleveland to take off the wrapping and progress into more movement.
He said it's difficult to sit out, especially because he felt healthier during Spring Training. Though his status this year is still unknown, he thinks a return next season is definite.
"The best thing for me is coming here, even though there's not anything for me to do," Stewart said. "There's no icing, there's no treatment or anything. It's just nice to be around the team and feel like I'm a part of it still. I could very easily just be at home watching the games on TV, but that gets old."
Wood keeping busy in early stages of retirement
CHICAGO -- Former Cubs ace Kerry Wood isn't one of the many professional athletes facing a difficult transition into retirement.
Wood has kept busy since retiring on May 18 after 14 seasons, appearing in a commercial, working with the Wood Family Foundation and spending time with his family.
"It's been great," Wood said. "Little League games and fishing. It's been a great summer. It's been my first summer off in 25-plus years. It's been very enjoyable."
His children's book, "All You Can Be: Learning and Growing through Sports," which was written by MLB.com's Carrie Muskat and shares the lessons he's learned in life, was also published in May by Triumph Books.
"I've been waiting a long time for this," Wood said. "I had the book come out, I had an event for the foundation. I really hadn't slowed down until the last 10 or 12 days. It's been great. I've had plenty of things to keep me busy."
The former Rookie of the Year and two-time All-Star said he will be around Wrigley Field more often as the season winds down, but he doesn't want to think about coaching yet.
"My kids are too young to think about that at this point," Wood said. "I think if you start to think about coaching, these guys spend so much more time here than the players do. It would be kind of counterproductive of what I was wanting to do. I'd like to be here as much as I can without being in the way."
Pitching to contact proving beneficial for Marmol
CHICAGO -- Manager Dale Sveum said Carlos Marmol had to understand that pitching to contact is acceptable before he could regain any confidence on the mound.
Marmol allowed two runners on base Saturday before forcing a deep flyout to right field and a double play to end the game. He was then summoned to record the final two outs of Sunday's 3-1 win, putting a pair of runners on base before fanning Geoff Blum and getting Gerardo Parra on a liner.
"I think he hit rock bottom there when we took him out of the closer role, and I think he had to sit back and realize that this contact stuff is OK, that 'I don't give up many hits even when I'm in the strike zone and let the defense do its work and get the double-play ball when people get on base,'" Sveum said.
Marmol has still struggled with free passes recently, allowing four walks in his last two appearances entering Sunday. Sveum said the key for Marmol is throwing strikes at key moments on the mound.
"The throwing strikes when he has to seems to be what he's been able to do," Sveum said. "Obviously, sometimes the pitch count looks like it's getting up, and then all of a sudden he's been getting some double-play balls or making the pitches when he has to and throwing the strikes."
Marmol, who hasn't allowed a run in 10 of his last 12 appearances, has the support of second baseman Darwin Barney.
"When you've got a guy like Marmol coming in and doing his job well like he has been lately, you feel comfortable out there," Barney said after Saturday's win.
After Saturday's win, the Cubs are unbeaten in their last five series (4-0-1), marking the first time since September 2008 that they have gone five consecutive series without a loss.
Wood said he's enjoyed watching starter Ryan Dempster's 33-inning scoreless streak.
"He's obviously in a groove and feeling it," Wood said. "Guys don't get into grooves like that very often, so it's fun to be a part of it and fun to be around watching it."
Rowan Kavner is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.