According to Paul Sullivan, Cubs closer Kerry Wood has been sidelined once again with lower back soreness. According to baseball executives, there is buzz among reporters and scouts that there is something seriously wrong with Wood, and the back injury is just to cover it up. Wood is 4-2 with a 2.96 ERA and 24 SV on the season, but has yet to be placed on the disabled list.
What could potentially happen in Chicago is the Cubs place him on the disabled list and call up Jose Ascanio to share a late inning set up role with rookie Jeff Samardzija. That would allow them to try Marmol and Howry in the closer spot. Most managers try to avoid a closer by committee situation because players are not comfortable not knowing their spot with the team, but I would not put it past Lou Piniella to try it, who went with over ninety different lineups last season.
The Cubs now have an influx of late inning pitchers in the minor league system with Samardzija, Ascanio, Chen, and first round draft pick Andrew Cashner, leaving the closer spot open for the taking come 2009.