Cubs notebook: Pounding continues for Mulder

Jeff Vorva

Once again, Mark Mulder took a post-surgery pounding.

The Cubs scored four runs on seven hits in three innings Sunday against the St. Louis Cardinals left-hander. In three games since coming back from shoulder surgery, Mulder is 0-3 with a 12.27 ERA. He’s yet to go more than four innings and is frustrated about the arm slot in his delivery.

“My arm kind of drops, and it didn’t feel very good in the third inning,” Mulder said. “It’s been kind of the same story all three starts — one bad inning. I have some moments where I feel OK. I can’t maintain where my arm needs to be. I’m still not finishing where I need to.”

Mulder said he plans to make his next start rather than shut it down for the season.

From 2001-05, Mulder posted records of 21-8, 19-7, 15-9, 17-8 and 16-8, the first four of those seasons with Oakland, the last with St. Louis. In 2006, he suffered from shoulder problems and went 6-7. He’s in the first year of a two-year, $13 million contract.

Mulder, 30, is going through some rough times, but Cubs outfielder Cliff Floyd, who graduated from Thornwood three years ahead of Mulder, believes the pitcher will turn things around.

“Hopefully, he’ll get the opportunity to pitch ... I know he will,” Floyd said. “He still throws 90 mph. Whether it’s as a starter or in the bullpen, he can still pitch.”

Floyd, who as a senior at Thornwood was one of the top players in the state in 1991, was aware of Mulder when the latter entered the South Holland school.

“He was a freshman, and he was the stud coming up,” Floyd said. “You knew who he was.”

’Pen pal?

On Friday, veteran starter Steve Trachsel was angry about speculation that he was headed to the bullpen.

On Sunday, manager Lou Piniella, when asked about Trachsel, said, “We can use him in the bullpen for a while and see what happens.”

Trachsel is 1-2 with a 7.63 ERA in three starts since rejoining the Cubs on Aug. 31.

As it stands, he isn’t in the starting rotation plans for the final two weeks of the season.

In 409 career appearances, Trachsel has 408 starts. His lone relief appearance came in 1995 with the Cubs.

Soto not in a haze

Backup catcher Geovany Soto, who went 4-for-5 Sunday, is a September call-up by the Cubs for the third straight year.

In 2005 and ’06, he was one of the victims in the annual hazing, in which the rookies have to dress up in female clothing or other crazy costumes on the trip from a road clubhouse to the airport.

Some Cubs veterans have to decide on Soto’s fate for this year’s hazing, which is temporarily planned for later in the month in Miami. Soto is still considered a rookie.

“I don’t know of anybody who had to do it three times,” Soto said. “Please, don’t make me do it. I’ve done it twice. That’s enough.”

Double-duty Wood

Kerry Wood, who spent most of the season on the disabled list, appeared in both ends of Saturday’s day-night doubleheader.

Wood pitched a scoreless inning in the first game and was the winner in the Cubs’ 3-2 victory. He tossed a scoreless inning in the nightcap, a 4-3 Cubs loss.

“It was different. I hadn’t done that probably since I was 18 in high school, or 17,” he said. “It was fun. I had a good time doing it. I felt good. I feel good today.”