CINCINNATI (AP) -- Kerry Wood has a stiff shoulder. The Chicago
Cubs have a big problem.
Wood gave up solo homers to Ken Griffey Jr. and two others, then
left the game after only three innings because of more shoulder
woes Wednesday night, leaving the Cubs with a much bleaker future
following their 9-3 loss to the Cincinnati Reds.
"The last thing we need right now is for him to go down,"
catcher Michael Barrett said.
Wood (3-3) couldn't get loose on a warm, muggy night, an ominous
development for a pitcher who has already tangled twice with
shoulder problems this season. He was limited to three spring
training starts because of bursitis, and was on the disabled list
from May 3 to June 29 with a strained shoulder.
In his fifth start since returning, Wood never looked right.
"It's a concern, but you don't want to jump to conclusions
yet," manager Dusty Baker said. "We took him out more as a
precaution than anything. His velocity was down.
"He warmed up great and didn't feel anything. That one inning
he started to feel something, whatever it was."
Wood was scheduled for an exam with Dr. Tim Kremchek on
Thursday. The Cubs then will decide whether to get medical tests on
Wood, who didn't stay around to talk to reporters.
Wood also left a game April 30 against Houston after three
innings because of a sore shoulder, his prelude to going on the
"It's kind of what he had in spring training and what we were
dealing with after that Houston game," trainer Mark O'Neal said.
"We don't want to let this develop into anything significant."
The Reds hit four homers in all, and Aaron Harang (6-8) pitched
a seven-hitter for Cincinnati's first complete game of the season.
Derrek Lee hit his major league-leading 31st and Jeromy Burnitz
followed with a solo shot in the seventh, when Harang's shutout
Cincinnati had gone a club-record 94 games without a complete
game this season.
"Everything has to click to get a complete game," Harang said.
"Your pitch count has to be low, the defense has to play behind
you, and you need some runs early so you can relax even more. I was
able to throw strikes and they were swinging at them."
The Cubs lost for only the second time in 10 games, a surge that
moved them back into contention for the NL wild card. Wood's latest
shoulder woes undercut the renewed optimism.
Wood gave up solo homers to Griffey, Felipe Lopez and Adam Dunn
in three innings. An assistant trainer and pitching coach Larry
Rothschild visited Wood after Griffey hit his 21st homer in the
third inning, making sure he was all right.
Wood stayed in the game and retired the next two batters, but
didn't return for the fourth.
"In the first inning, I thought he had pretty good stuff,"
Barrett said. "He just needed to get loose, get going. Power
pitchers are like that. His last few starts he's been like that.
Today he just had trouble getting loose."
The Cubs need Wood and Mark Prior -- who both have been on the
disabled list this season -- to stay healthy if they hope to make a
playoff run. Prior has recovered from a broken elbow, but Wood's
shoulder remains a major concern.
With Wood not quite right, the Reds rolled out to a 6-0 lead.
Griffey's homer was the first of his career off Wood and the 522nd
of his career, breaking a tie for 14th on the career list with Ted
Williams and Willie McCovey.
Javier Valentin, who homered from both sides of the plate on
Sunday, added a solo shot as Cincinnati pulled away off the Cubs'
bullpen. Griffey had an RBI single during a clinching three-run
rally in the eighth.
The four homers moved the Reds back ahead of the Cubs for the NL
lead with 125, one more than Chicago. More homers have been hit at
Great American Ball Park this season than anyplace else in the
Lee went 1-for-4 overall, dropping his average a point to .375,
still the best in the majors. He is 17-for-34 (.500) with eight
homers against the Reds this season, five of them at Great
It was Harang's second career complete game in 77 starts.
The other was Aug. 26 against St. Louis. ... Griffey has 1,508
RBI, one behind Mickey Mantle for 42nd on the career list. ...
Barrett had a single and a sacrifice fly, extending his hitting
streak to seven games. ... 2B Todd Walker's hitting streak ended at
12 games. ... Dunn has 25 homers this season, three of them off
Wood. ... The Reds have given up 143 homers, most in the majors.
... RHP Greg Maddux needs six strikeouts on Thursday to become the
13th pitcher to reach 3,000.