Just as sure as day becomes night, and winter turns to spring, arm trouble is sending Kerry Wood to the disabled list for his annual season-opening visit, the Cubs announced Monday. This is Wood’s 216th career trip to the DL.

A weekend examination by Wood’s orthopedic surgeon finally revealed the nature of Wood’s arm problems.

“I don’t know how it escaped me for this long, but the most recent MRI revealed that Kerry is actually made of balsa wood,” said the surgeon. “You’ve all seen how those flimsy wooden toy airplanes shatter into a thousand pieces from a slight breeze — it’s the same thing with Kerry. But it’s nothing that a little glue can’t fix.”

Cubs general manager Jim Hendry was relieved to finally have a diagnosis on Wood.

“Now that we know what’s wrong, I expect Kerry to be ready to throw off a mound in a week or two,” said Hendry. “Just a few dozen simulated games against Mark [Prior] and both of them should be ready for September call-ups.”

Wood’s teammates, who dubbed him “Kid K” after he struck out 20 Houston Astros in his fifth big league start, have quickly taken to his new moniker.

“Kerry ‘Balsa’ Wood,” said Cubs closer and jokester Ryan Dempster. “That really rolls of the tongue. I can’t believe Chris Berman never thought of it.”

heckler editorial staff