7/5/2013 4:23 P.M. ET
Sveum believes Wood should be an All-Star
By Ethan Asofsky / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- With Saturday evening's All-Star roster announcement looming, Cubs manager Dale Sveum said he believes left-handed starter Travis Wood deserves to be included on the National League team.
The All-Stars will be unveiled at 5:30 p.m. CT on Saturday on the 2013 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show presented by Taco Bell, televised nationally on FOX.
Wood threw six shutout innings on Thursday to lower his ERA to 2.69 through 17 starts this season. He's thrown a quality start in all but one outing -- a May 25 start in Cincinnati when the lefty allowed five runs over 5 2/3 innings. While Wood hasn't received a winning decision since May 30, his numbers have remained among the top in the NL. He posted a 3.06 ERA during five starts in June and issued just eight walks over the month.
"He's been our All-Star," Sveum said. "He's been the most consistent. He hasn't had a bad outing, knock on wood. It's hard to go out there for 16, 17 outings or whatever it's been and not have a hiccup along the way. He's kept us in every ballgame."
Sveum credited pitching coach Chris Bosio and bullpen coach Lester Strode for helping Wood improve into one of the game's most dominant pitchers this season. He said through coaching, Wood has learned how to pitch to his arm side, and he has studied Bosio's scouting reports to make him more prepared before starts.
"They all have a lot to do with it," Sveum said. "The biggest thing is the adjustments. He's the one guy that's made adjustments, and it's helping him tremendously."
Blackhawks take batting practice at Wrigley Field
CHICAGO -- Blackhawks winger Bryan Bickell tracked down a fly ball in the left-field corner while teammate Brandon Bollig spent Friday's batting practice at Wrigley Field chatting with Cubs starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija.
"I've been looking forward to this," Bickell said. "To take batting practice and to be able to be out here with the players is a great opportunity."
It's good to be champions. And as a part of a Blackhawks weekend at Wrigley Field, Bickell, Bollig and Patrick Sharp were invited to take batting practice before the Cubs' series opener against the Pirates and will also sing during the seventh-inning stretch in honor of the Hawks' second Stanley Cup win in just four years.
Cubs manager Dale Sveum said he enjoyed having a group of Blackhawks players join the team for batting practice and laughed at the hint they might rub some success off on his team.
"I think what the Blackhawks went through, we all got caught up in it," Sveum said. "I think a lot of times, no doubt, you sit back and you're like a 10-year-old kid. The what ifs and when we do it and all this. Then the guys come out and you get to meet them and talk about the Cup."
After watching the city celebrate the Blackhawks' championship, Sveum said he couldn't help but talk with the players about what it would be like if the Cubs were to win a World Series.
"You do reflect on it, because when you win a championship, you wish everybody could have gone through it," Sveum said. "There's only one feeling in this world when you're playing professional sports, and it's that last pitch or when that buzzer goes off and you're the world champion."
Bickell could only participate in limited action on Friday afternoon due to thumb surgery he underwent after the season to repair a torn tendon. He was also wearing a knee brace, but said baseball was a big part of his summers growing up and he couldn't miss watching how the Cubs prepare before games.
"To be here and see what these guys go through, it's a different level," Bickell said. "I fielded a couple hits, but maybe in the future I'll get back out here again."
• While there's still no timetable for David DeJesus' return, the outfielder is swinging off a tee and can raise his arm over his head. The speedy leadoff man is recovering from a right shoulder sprain that landed him on the 15-day disabled list on June 15.
• The Cubs opened a 10-game stay in Chicago with Friday's series opener against the Pirates. They'll travel across town to play the White Sox for a makeup game on Monday. But after playing 16 of their last 19 games on the road, Sveum said he's looking forward to the extended stay at home and improving on the team's 17-22 record at Wrigley Field.
"We need to play better at home," Sveum said. "For what we got right now, we're doing pretty decent on the road. We've got to win these games at home. We've got a tough little stretch here with some of the teams coming in, but we've got to win these games."
Ethan Asofsky is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.