ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Cleveland Indians closer Kerry Wood threw 35 pitches during a bullpen session on Tuesday, and is scheduled for another one Friday before the club can determine the next step in his recovery from an upper back injury that has kept him sidelined since March 10.
Manager Manny Acta says Wood could be activated in 10-14 days if there are no setbacks. The 32-year-old right-hander, in the final season of a two-year contract that pays him $10.5 million this season, threw two simulated games last week and wasn't pleased with the second one Friday in Oakland.
"It went well. I threw with better location and I had better command of my pitches," Wood said following the Indians' 9-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels. "I was way better today than I was in Oakland, so that's a positive thing. We're bouncing back, and I'm still being able to go every other day."
Manager Manny Acta seemed equally encouraged during his pregame session with reporters.
"He threw very well today and had better command this time than on his last one," Acta said. "He's throwing breaking balls and everything. With the breaking ball, we've pretty much told him that he has plenty of time to get that done. Just worry about fastball command right now and his cutter."
If Wood comes out of Friday's side session OK, the next step will be for him to throw another simulated game before making a couple of minor league rehab appearances.
"I didn't really have a spring training," Wood said. "I had three innings of spring training, so I wasn't thinking I could be back by a certain day. But I feel fine. My arm feels good, but I'm just trying to iron out some mechanical stuff so that I am ready when I do come back."
Acta emphasized than in no way are the Indians rushing Wood back. Substitute closer Chris Perez is making things much easier in that regard, having converted four of his five save opportunities.
"We can't put a time frame on the rehab starts because it all depends on the next bullpen he does," Acta said. "We want to do it the right way, so he when he comes back, he can step right in and close games instead of pitching in the sixth or seventh inning. That's why we're doing the rehab outings. But that doesn't mean that if a closing situation doesn't arise right away, we wouldn't throw him out there just to get a taste of it."