Ben writes,

The Cubs are playing down expectations for Kerry Wood’s return today, a near impossible task considering the last few weeks, nadiring with Vedder’s appearance at Wrigley. Even promising Cub fans that Wood can keep opposing teams to seven runs or less would be acceptable. On the Cubs’s site today, Carrie Muskat reports the Cubs’ official version of a less impressive Wood about to appear — an all too common talking point in the post steroid era. Can’t wait for Prior to get over his “strained muscle” and “stomach bug.”

“It’s not that he’s going to walk out there and be the Kerry Wood who you saw in ’03,” Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild said, referring to the fireball-throwing Wood who struck out 266 that season and won the National League Rookie of the Year.

“He’s close to that,” Rothschild said. “We’re going to have to watch him the first couple weeks, first month or so. He’s thrown well in the rehabs, and the situation was to get him here and this is where he has to make the next step.

“I’m optimistic about the way he’s throwing the ball, the way he’s felt. Hopefully, he gets out there [on Thursday] and feels good and comes out of it healthy and with a good outing.”

Yeah, I hope so too, but you can’t help worrying that Kerry Wood isn’t the Tin Woodsman of old and more of a Tin Glassman.