Kerry Wood wants to stay with the Cubs in 2012

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Kerry Wood took less money to sign with the Cubs as a free agent this offseason and then turned down a chance to potentially join a contender at the trade deadline, so not surprisingly he’s also interested in re-signing for 2012.

Wood will be a free agent this offseason and should draw plenty of interest following a strong season in which he’s thrown 42 innings with a 3.24 ERA and 48/18 K/BB ratio in a setup role, but the 34-year-old said during a radio interview today that “hopefully Chicago would like to have me back.”

Wood is earning $1.5 million after turning down more lucrative offers from several teams, including the crosstown White Sox, and has indicated previously that he’d basically like to be a Cub for life. His stance on that apparently hasn’t changed despite longtime friend Jim Hendry being fired as general manager last week, with Wood calling it “part of the game.”

Clayton Kershaw might return to the Dodgers’ rotation next week

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Dodgers southpaw Clayton Kershaw is nearing his return to the mound, according to club manager Dave Roberts. Both Kershaw (left biceps tendinitis) and fellow lefty Rich Hill (left middle finger blister) are scheduled to toss simulated games on Saturday; depending on the outcome, Roberts says Kershaw could forgo a minor league assignment and slot back into the rotation by Thursday.

Kershaw, 30, was diagnosed with biceps tendinitis as the team closed out their Mexico Series at the start of the month. He has not made a start in several weeks, but was finally able to resume throwing on Sunday and managed to get through two successful bullpen sessions. Though Dodgers’ ace hasn’t been completely injury-free over his 11-year career in the majors, this is the first significant issue he’s had with his pitching arm so far. The team is expected to take every precaution with the lefty, and will likely limit him to just four innings during Saturday’s simulated game.

Prior to his injury, Kershaw was working on another dominant run with the club, sporting a 2.86 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 9.8 SO/9 through his first 44 innings of the season. While Kershaw, Hill and left-handed starter Hyun-Jin Ryu served their respective terms on the disabled list this month, the Dodgers utilized a combination of relievers Ross Stripling and Brock Stewart, both of whom impressed during their limited time in the rotation.