Wood closer to returning to mound

Kerry Wood will rejoin the Cubs on Monday in Los Angeles to throw in a bullpen session. The team has not said whether Wood would start a minor-league rehabilitation assignment within the week as he returns from shoulder surgery, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Wood threw 51 pitches Saturday in a three-inning simulated game in Mesa, Ariz.

The Cubs are eager to have Wood back with Carlos Zambrano, winless in his first three starts, and Greg Maddux, the only other solid starter in the Cubs' rotation.

"You talk to him, and he's in a hurry," Cubs manager Dusty Baker told the Sun-Times. "We're in a hurry to have him, but we don't want to do anything to set him back. I talked to him the other day, and he said that's the best he's felt after he has thrown. We want to continue on that same progress."

The Cubs have turned to rookie left-hander Sean Marshall as star right-handers Mark Prior and Wood remain sidelined with injuries.

Marshall earned his first major league victory Friday night with a five-inning outing against Pittsburgh.