Just when you thought Kerry Wood‘s days in a Cubs uniform were done, he’s back working with the team during spring training.
May 19, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood speaks during a press conference announcing his retirement before the game against the Chicago White Sox at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
Fitch park is somewhere that Kerry is very familiar with and the Cubs have brought him back as an instructor for Cubs’ pitching. No doubt he’ll be able to contribute to the team positively.
Wood, who has retired last May, is one of the more popular Cubs’ players of our generation. He’s clearly still fond of the organization and is enjoying the alternative perspective of instructing:
"It was nice not having to run from field to field and doing all the drills. Obviously different, but nice to be back on the field and back in uniform and being around the guys again."
Wood not only brings experience to the young squad, but his level headed nature carries throughout his actions. These positive habits could be adopted by the younger players who look up to Wood.
Dale Sveum is also happy to have Wood on board for spring training:
"Sometimes a young player will listen to a Kerry Wood before a Dale Sveum. It’s just a presence, and to give him an opportunity to get on this side of the wall and see if he enjoys this part of it — front office, development, whatever it might be."
Reports indicate that Wood will stay on staff for the duration of the season as he is still a resident of Chicago and also owns property in Phoenix. Having a mentor on staff can only bring value to the team, and Wood is embracing his position having taken the time to talk to young pitchers about how to prepare for the season:
"Just being around here and learning the new faces and the younger guys who are going to be coming through the organization. I was pretty young when I came through it, so I think I have something to offer. It’s valuable to have just another guy around for the young guys to go talk to. Sometimes young players can be intimidated to go talk to a big league manager or pitching coach, so it’s just another guy that’s floating around they may be more comfortable talking with"
Pitching was a significant portion of the Cubs’ off season acquisitions, and all members of the pitching staff seem pleased by the moves. There is now a rotation worthy of contention and many potential breakout players in the bullpen. Pairing Wood’s experience and skill with pitching coach Chris Bosio‘s approach will likely mean a strong turn around for the club.