White Sox

Wood, Marmol and the shape of Cubs bullpen


Wood, Marmol and the shape of Cubs bullpen

PHILADELPHIA Kerry Wood gave a thumbs-up review of his simulated game and kept walking through the clubhouse: It went good. Thanks.

Wood threw around 22 pitches on Monday at Citizens Bank Park. If the right shoulder responds, the Cubs hope to activate him by Thursday or Friday.

Wood hasnt appeared in a real game since April 13, and went on the disabled list with right shoulder fatigue thats been bothering him occasionally since the beginning of spring training.

Well just see how everything goes the next couple days, manager Dale Sveum said. If everything goes according to plan where the bullpens not all beat up, it will probably be Thursday.

The Cubs arent going to overload their 3 million setup man. The emergence of 24-year-old Rafael Dolis (1-1, 3.38 ERA, one save, two holds) gives them another option. Wood wont automatically work the eighth inning right away.

(To) just take a little stress off the whole situation when he first comes back, Sveum said, we could possibly just move him into the seventh-inning role and see what happens there. But well talk about that in the next few days.

The Cubs have had trouble getting the ball to Carlos Marmol, a consequence of their spotty offense. Sveum believes that helps explain why the closer has been so erratic.

Marmol saved a game on April 8, and didnt get another chance until April 24 (which he couldnt convert). He had a five-run cushion on Sunday and walked three batters and forced in a run before getting the final out in Sundays 5-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies.

Hes just got to understand (his) fastball, Sveum said. Hes thrown 62 fastballs this year and hes given up one hit, so he shouldnt be afraid to throw that thing.

Hes not a guy thats going to paint corners. Just knowing that you dont have to go to the slider all the time is the big thing. When your fastballs not getting hit and theres not a lot of hard contact when its in the zone have some confidence.

He needs to pitch more and that will help him, too. Hes one of those guys that needs to pitch and have more of a feel for everything out there on the mound because hes a max-effort guy.

Marmol (0-1, 5.87 ERA) stressed that he doesnt want to make any excuses. But he acknowledged that it hasnt been easy to stay sharp under these circumstances.

Yeah, man, everybody knows that, Marmol said. Ten, 15 days without a save opportunity you go out there and try to do your best. Its going to be tough. You give your best that day.

MLB responds to word of season restarting in Arizona as early as May

MLB responds to word of season restarting in Arizona as early as May

ESPN's Jeff Passan dropped a news bomb on the baseball world late on Monday, reporting that the league is considering a plan that involves the 2020 season taking place in the Phoenix area and starting as early as May.

Major League Baseball responded Tuesday morning with a statement that acknowledged the league is “actively considering numerous contingency plans that would allow play to commence once the public health situation has improved to the point that it is safe to do so.” 

However, the statement also said that while playing games at one location has been discussed, the league has “not settled on that option or developed a detailed plan.”

RELATED: MLB, MLBPA focused on plan to start 2020 season in May

On Tuesday’s ESPN Daily podcast with Mina Kimes, Passan said the plan has a “high degree of difficulty.” But the desire to play in 2020 exists from both players and the league.

“What you are going to have, I think, is players who are motivated to get paid and a league that is motivated not to lose a season,” Passan said. “When you have both of those things working together, all of the logistics can get figured out. That’s just a matter of time. Whether it’s May like they’re hoping for, or June, like, might be more realistic, I think they’re going to do everything they can because they know if this does not work, then the backup alternative is probably no season in 2020.”

The logistics of the idea and the potential pitfalls are numerous.

“We can go on and on and on about the number of people who have to abide by this plan to make it work. And the discipline that that would take is so extraordinary that I think a seamless summer in which games are played and a player doesn’t contract coronavirus or someone involved doesn’t contract coronavirus is really unlikely,” Passan said. “The question at that point is what will happen if something like that takes place, and will they be in a position to continue playing? And I think the answer that baseball has by undertaking this plan is yes, we would continue through that because we hope that what we have in place in terms of testing will prevent the spread if somebody does come into the biosphere with coronavirus.”

While the league said it has not settled on how to play the 2020 season, the reported word of a possible return as soon as May or June is the first news of a major American sports league considering a return since the sports world halted in March.

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Hawks Rewind: 2010 Blackhawks close in on Stanley Cup Final

Hawks Rewind: 2010 Blackhawks close in on Stanley Cup Final

Tuesday night at 7 PM on NBC Sports Chicago, watch as the Blackhawks take on the San Jose Sharks in Game 3 of the 2010 Western Conference Final. 

Two of the Hawks' top playoff performers in 2010 would keep it going for Game 3 in Chicago. 

Dustin Byfuglien scored in overtime to give Chicago a 3-0 series lead and bring the team incredibly close to the Stanley Cup Final. The Blackhawks hadn't been to the big dance since 1992.

Patrick Sharp stayed hot by scoring a power-play goal in the second period.

Another player who regularly checked in during the 2010 postseason, Dave Bolland, scored in the third period.

Bolland's goal came on a breakaway, putting Chicago ahead 2-1, but Patrick Marleau tied it up with 4:23 left in regulation to force overtime.

Byfuglien scored his seventh goal of the playoffs 12:24 into overtime for the 3-2 victory. 

Antti Niemi had a stellar 44-save game for the Blackhawks, including five stops in overtime. Niemi and Chicago's penalty kill held San Jose to just one goal in six power-play attempts, including the Hawks stopping all three in the third period. 

Jonathan Toews grabbed two assists in Game 3, giving him a point in 12 straight playoff games, setting a Blackhawks record. Stan Mikita had an 11-game streak in 1962.

The Hawks were set to host the Sharks again for Game 4 at the United Center. 

Full Hawks Rewind schedule

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