In 11 years on the Cubs beat, I've covered enough simulated games to be inducted into the Simulated Writers Wing of the Simulated Hall of Fame.
This morning brought another, and it brought with it a rush of memories.
Today, Kerry Wood threw 26 simulated pitches, 16 for simulated strikes, facing bullpen catchers Edgar Tovar and Corey Miller, who is celebrating his 32nd birthday and was reveling in the birthday gift of being able to face Kerry Wood. Both players made a little contact, with Tovar hitting a single (simulated, of course) to center field. Wood even played along, "shaking off" catcher Tim Buss when Buss flashed a simulated sign.
But seriously, Wood said he was glad to "get the shoulder going" by cutting loose with a few pitches. Wood has been bothered by a persistent blister on his right index finger, and he threw this morning with a pad on the finger. Those, of course, are not legal in real games. When Wood comes back is anybody's guess. But he threw so that he doesn't lose any arm strength while waiting for the blister to finally heal.
"It was wrapped up today, so I didn't feel anything, so we'll probably try to throw without it tomorrow and see how it feels," said Wood, who noted that he threw fastballs, sliders, cutters and "one bad curveball." That curveball sailed over the head of Tovar late in the outing.
"I'm beyond antsy," Wood said. "This is the damndest thing I've ever seen as far as skin. I can't explain it. Nobody here can explain it. I've been to several doctors, and it just hasn't gotten any better. We tried just about everything we can think of and tried some things we probably shouldn't have. Time's going to be the best thing for it."