PHILADELPHIA -- The Cubs got some good news early on Friday as both Kerry Wood and Ryan Dempster threw good bullpen sessions as they work their way back from the disabled list.
Wood, who is working through shoulder fatigue, threw 25 pitches in the Citizens Bank Park bullpen, and the next step is to see how he feels on Saturday before throwing a simulated game on Monday afternoon.
"He did well," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "He threw all of his pitches. He spun the ball really well, and we're probably looking at, if everything goes good, a sim game on Monday, and then we'll go from there. We're shooting for Thursday [for] another sim game and then see where we are on Thursday."
Meanwhile, Dempster continues to see improvement in his right quad and appears on track for his return.
"Everything went really well," Sveum said. "His running went well, the bullpen went great. He's ready to come back on his day."
Dempster can come off the 15-day DL as early as May 3.
Stewart's reliability at third a boon for Cubs
PHILADELPHIA -- While it's true that third baseman Ian Stewart entered Friday night's game at Philadelphia mired in an offensive slump, Cubs manager Dale Sveum has no intention of removing him from the lineup. Not when he's invaluable at third base defensively, and that was evident in a 5-1 win over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.
"Nobody else is playing [third]," said Sveum, who will go with Stewart's defense no matter what happens offensively.
For Stewart, the game is about both offense and defense, and right now, he's a stabilizing force defensively on the left side of the Cubs' infield. On Friday, Stewart had five assists -- the Cubs recorded 16 assists in all as starter Paul Maholm, along with relievers James Russell and Rafael Dolis, had Phillies hitters pounding out ground ball after ground ball -- and his career .959 fielding percentage at third base eclipses the fact that his career batting average is below .250.
"I think he had it going on," Sveum said. "The last few games haven't been where he wants to be, or [where] we want him to be. I think he's one of those guys that's streaky and always has been one of those guys. Like I say about the media guide, even the years he was really good, he'd have big-time streaks with home runs here and there, then a two-week period with a cooling-off period. Yeah, we need him to be more consistent with a home run here and there."
Stewart, who did hit 25 home runs for Colorado in 2009, also contributed at the plate on a night both offenses struggled to get into rhythm. With the Cubs holding a 2-1 lead in the sixth, Stewart's RBI double into the right-field corner provided some much-needed breathing room.
"When he's hot, he's a two-way player," Sveum said. "When he's cold, he's at least a one-way player. There aren't many third basemen that play third base the way he does."
The Cubs will start Chris Volstad on Monday in the finale of this four-game series at Citizens Bank Park against the Phillies. Volstad will get the start, and Jeff Samardzija will start on Tuesday at Cincinnati. Samardzija is in his first year as a starter.
"We just have to take those opportunities when we can with [Samardzija]," Sveum said, of giving Samardzija extra rest.
Cubs first baseman Bryan LaHair entered Friday having homered in two consecutive games. LaHair was hitting .346, with four home runs this season. LaHair had also reached base in 15 straight games.
Mike Radano is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.