Prior, Wood to pitch for Cubs Monday
Piniella eases right-handers back to mound as starter, reliever
PHOENIX -- Cubs right-hander Mark Prior will make his first Cactus League start on Monday against the Mariners in Peoria, Ariz., and, in a strange twist, Kerry Wood will pitch in the same game in relief.
"I told the pitching coach we'll answer all the questions on one day -- it won't take two or three," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said on Saturday.
It will be the fourth time in their careers that the two pitchers will be in the same game. In 2005, when Wood was pitching in relief, he made an appearance in three regular-season games that Prior started.
Prior started on Aug. 14, 2005, against St. Louis, five days later against Colorado, and on Aug. 24 against Atlanta, and Wood appeared in all three games. Prior picked up wins and Wood was credited with holds in the first two games, but the Cubs lost the third game, 3-1.
Prior, limited to one spring start in the last three years because of injuries, has looked sharp in his side sessions. Wood is making a comeback from a partial tear in his right rotator cuff. He tuned up by throwing to hitters on Friday, and all went well.
"He's anxious to get going," Piniella said of Wood. "It works perfect."
New Cubs left-hander Ted Lilly also will pitch on Monday. Prior will start the game because he needs a little more time to warm up, with Lilly to follow.
The only thing to slow Wood down this spring was a chest bruise that occurred when he fell out of his hot tub before pitchers and catchers reported.
"Kerry had that spa incident and bruised his rib cage, but neither has missed a scheduled throw day or activity," Piniella said. "They've both been nice and healthy. The secret is to keep them nice and healthy all the way through Spring Training and on Opening Day. This is a good start for us."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.