Chicago Cubs: The Heroes of Wrigley Series presents Kerry Wood

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6 Jun 2001: Kerry Wood #34 of the Chicago Cubs pulls back to pitch during the game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs defeated the Cardinals 4-1.Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Daniel /Allsport
6 Jun 2001: Kerry Wood #34 of the Chicago Cubs pulls back to pitch during the game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs defeated the Cardinals 4-1.Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Daniel /Allsport /
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LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 08: Catcher Geovany Soto #18 of the Chicago Cubs celebrates with pitcher Kerry Wood #34 after their 3-1 win against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodgers Stadium on June 8, 2008, in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 08: Catcher Geovany Soto #18 of the Chicago Cubs celebrates with pitcher Kerry Wood #34 after their 3-1 win against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodgers Stadium on June 8, 2008, in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Turning a new chapter in his career, Wood adjusts to a new role

The success of the playoffs became a fading memory as the injury bug would bite Wood, once again, for the next several seasons, derailing him from ever truly living up to the potential shown in his rookie year and his breakout 2003 season.

High workloads and over-exceeding pitch counts became his downfall and took a toll on the 27-year old’s arm.  By 2005, it was decided that he wasn’t fit to handle starting pitching any longer.  After landing on the disabled list for the 14th time in his young career, he was relegated to the bullpen.

In 2007, he became a free agent.  In order to stay as a Cub, he gladly continued to accept a bullpen role and took a considerable pay cut to remain with the team that drafted him

In 2008, former Cubs closer, Ryan Dempster, moved to the starting rotation.  After competing for the job, Wood won the vacated role and it proved a successful transition as it ideally monitored his workload and pitch count.  He earned his second All-Star team selection and finished the year with a 3.26 ERA and 34 saves.

In November 2008, the Cubs declined to re-sign Wood due to financial constraints and he signed with the Cleveland Indians.  That season, upon making a relief appearance in Chicago against his former team on June 19, Wood received a rousing standing ovation from the Wrigley faithful.

In 2010, the New York Yankees traded for Wood in order to bolster their bullpen as they were in the midst of a playoff race.  In 24 games, he served as the set-up man for the greatest closer in history, Mariano Rivera, going 2-0 with a 0.69 ERA.

The Yankees fell in six games to the Texas Rangers in the American League Championship Series and, after the season, the club declined his option, setting up a homecoming back to Chicago.

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