Kerry Wood and Nomar Garciaparra are expected to rejoin the Cubs by this weekend, and the team hopes they can help Chicago make a push in the NL wild-card race.

Wood said his right arm was loose and feeling good after a couple of minor league rehabilitation outings. He expects to pitch out of the bullpen the rest of the season in an effort to reduce the strain on his arm.

"Obviously, I've got to get through the season and stay healthy the rest of the way," Wood said before last night's game in Philadelphia. "But at this particular point, my role is to come out of the 'pen and help the team that way."

Wood (3-3, 4.67 ERA) pitched in relief for the second appearance of his rehab assignment Tuesday night and retired all four batters he faced for the Class A Peoria Chiefs in Peoria, Ill. The right-hander, on the disabled list since July 20 because of inflammation in his right shoulder, threw 12 of 15 pitches for strikes.

"The pain went away," Wood said. "I don't have any pain when I'm throwing."

Garciaparra went 1 for 3 yesterday in his final rehabilitation game at Class AA West Tenn, then said he would rejoin the Cubs in Philadelphia immediately.

Garciaparra has been on the DL since injuring his groin in April.

* QUITE A FEAT: The Diamondbacks became the first team to face 300-game winners in consecutive games since July 24-25, 1987, when Texas faced Steve Carlton and Phil Neikro. Arizona beat Greg Maddux and the Cubs on Sunday and lost to Roger Clemens and the Astros on Tuesday.

-- From News Services

Nomar Garciaparra has been on the DL since injuring his groin in April. He went 1 for 3 for Class AA West Tenn yesterday.