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09/06/05 7:38 PM ET

Back with Cubs, Wood to begin rehab

After successful surgery, righty aims to return as a starter

ST. LOUIS -- Kerry Wood's right arm is bundled into a black brace designed to stabilize his shoulder. He'll have to wear it for three weeks, and sleep in it for four weeks. It doesn't look very comfortable.

The good news is that Dr. Timothy Kremchek found exactly what he was looking for during the arthroscopic surgery on the Chicago Cubs pitcher's shoulder on Aug. 31. All the range of motion and strengthening exercises Wood did before the operation also were a plus.

"It turned out well," Wood said of the operation. "They said everything looked good in there and they did what they had to do, they cleaned up what they had to clean up, and they said I should recover fine."

The first two weeks of Wood's rehab will be minimal with some minor exercises and lots of ice.

"There's nothing here for a little while -- it's kind of boring," he said.

By undergoing the surgery when he did, Wood is expected to be ready by Spring Training. He doesn't know when he can pick up a baseball again.

"I haven't looked that far," Wood said. "I can't pick up my arm right now. [Picking up a baseball] seems like a long way off."

He's going to be relying on his left arm quite a bit.

"It's not easy to play cards. It's not easy to do anything right now," he said.

Wood was 3-3 with a 4.67 ERA in 10 starts, and 0-1 with a 2.25 ERA in 11 relief appearances this year. He struck out 77 -- 60 as a starter over 54 innings, 17 as a reliever over 12. He's not anticipating any more time in the bullpen.

"I've got an idea of what it's like," he said. "But I'm rehabbing to come back as a starter."

Cubs manager Dusty Baker was glad Wood returned to the team for the final 3 1/2 weeks.

"He likes being with the team and we like having Kerry around," Baker said. "He'll start his rehab pretty soon and it's easier to do that under a controlled environment than being on your own. A lot of guys would've said, 'Hey, I'm going home, see you later.' Kerry loves the game, he loves being around the ballpark.

"I've known guys who go home early and, especially when you don't go to the postseason, it makes for a long, long winter," Baker said. "That extra month at home, you start getting ready to go back in December."

And what does Wood look for from the Cubs in the future?

"I look to win. That's the bottom line," he said. "Obviously, we didn't reach our expectations and goals this year. You always expect to win, and that's the bottom line."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.