MESA, Ariz. (AP) _ Jon Lieber is getting the nod over Kerry Wood as the Chicago Cubs' opening-day starting pitcher.

Cubs manager Don Baylor earlier had been leaning toward picking Wood, the 1998 NL Rookie of the Year.

Baylor ``told me four or five days ago,'' Lieber said. ``I'm definitely thrilled about it. I didn't know what was going to happen. It's definitely a great honor and a privilege.''

The right-hander led the major leagues last season with 251 innings pitched and led the Cubs in wins with a 12-11 record. His ERA was 4.41 ERA.

``It came a lot clearer to me last week,'' Baylor said of the decision. ``I thought about it back in December, but I wasn't too sure until I got to spring training and just kind of observed things.''