Notes: Spring game up next for Wood?
Murton excels vs. Angels; Piniella pounces on sloppiness
MESA, Ariz. -- Kerry Wood threw 40 pitches over two innings in batting practice Friday, and the next step for him could be a Cactus League game next week.
"He threw nice and easy, had good velocity and good command," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said after the session, held on the back field at HoHoKam Park.
Wood, projected in the Cubs bullpen, is coming back from a partial tear in his right rotator cuff. The team wants to see how he responds after Friday's session, and then could include him in the mix for a spring game.
Wood has not pitched in a game since June 6, one of four starts he made in 2006.
Good wood: Matt Murton shined in the second Cactus League game, a 9-6 loss to the Angels. Murton was 3-for-3 with four RBIs, including his first spring homer, a solo shot to right in the second.
"It's the second day of games, so you take it for what it is," he said. "You want to have as much success as possible. But you also realize there's a lot of work to be done. Whenever you come out and feel good in the box, it's definitely a plus."
Murton, who batted fifth on Friday after hitting second on Thursday, got kudos from Piniella for his at-bat in the third with the bases loaded when he singled to right.
Expect some slight changes, though. Piniella wants the outfielders positioned a little deeper.
"The ball's jumping," he said. "Let's give them the singles and try to catch the doubles."
Snap, crackle, pop: Piniella was noticeably upset after Thursday's spring opener about the sloppy play. Turns out, third baseman Scott Moore, who made two errors, had a sore shoulder which contributed to the throwing errors. Piniella was upset that Moore didn't say anything to the medical staff about his injury. Moore will be sidelined for a few days.
Still, Piniella wanted to make a point.
"What I'm trying to say is if you give up seven unearned runs in a ballgame, you're not going to win many," Piniella said. "When we play sloppy as a team, truthfully, it's a reflection on me, and I don't like it. I'm the one who's responsible for that. I'm not the one who makes the errors, but I'm the one who has to answer for them. I take a little pride in teams playing well."
On the plus side, the errors didn't happen until the substitutes came in.
"Everybody who is here is capable of playing better," Piniella said. "I wasn't concerned about wins or losses in the spring, but it's my first game, too, and I wanted to see a crisper ballgame.
"I'm not the type who is going to sit and watch sloppy play," he said. "I'm not going to do it. We'll make some changes to find the right combination of who can play. We have to work harder to continue to improve, and that's what Spring Training is for."
Did he say anything to the players after the game?
"I'm not an ogre," Piniella said. "I'm a nice guy."
However, it only took until the fifth inning of the second spring game before he questioned an umpire, standing and shrugging his shoulders after a call at second when Murton was called out on a force play.
"I just wanted to know," Piniella said. "It seemed to me our runner was there. But I always think our runners are there."
Extra bases: Piniella complimented catcher Michael Barrett for his generous contribution to Derrek Lee's Project 3000. Barrett presented Lee with $50,000 on Friday, and will donate $10,000 per home run. "That's absolutely wonderful," Piniella said of Barrett. "It speaks volumes about his generosity and his character, and it's really nice to see." ... Friday was the last Cactus League game in which Lee's Project 3000 bracelets would be sold. For more information, go to www.1stTouch.org or www.project3000.org. ... Brian Dopirak had a little bit of a headache after a ball hit him on the side of his head in Thursday's game. He did pinch-hit on Friday. ... Neal Cotts was scheduled to go two innings Friday, but his outing was shortened to one after he gave up three runs on four hits. ... Wade Miller will start on Saturday against Oakland. Expect Daryle Ward to get his first start at first base on Saturday. Felix Pie will start in center field. ... Sunday's game at HoHoKam Park against the White Sox is sold out. Rich Hill will start for the Cubs against Jon Garland. ... Piniella teased reporters that they know more about the team than he does. "Right now, I should still be working for FOX with the microphone in my hand. I'll catch up soon."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.