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MLB: Cubs pitcher Wood announces retirement

The SportsXchange

Chicago Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood's strikeout was thought to be the final batter he faced in his career.

Wood, the flame-throwing pitcher known for a record-setting 20-strikeout performance, reportedly was planning to announce his retirement Friday after the Cubs' game against the Chicago White Sox.

Wood reportedly wanted one more opportunity to pitch in a game, then retire, according to ESPN.com.

"It's just time," Wood said after the game. "It was time. We saw how things were going this year and just not being able to recover and bounce back and do my job, essentially. You know, do what I'm supposed to do, day in and day out. Just the grind of getting ready every day. To go through it, hours to get ready for fifteen pitches and go out there and not be successful.

"You know it was just time, time to give someone else a chance."

The right-hander was called in to replace starter Jeff Samardzija with one out in the eighth inning to face right-handed batter Dayan Viciedo. Wood struck out Viciedo swinging on three pitches.

Cubs manager Dale Sveum then replaced Wood, who shook hands with all of his infielders and waved at others as he left the mound. After he tipped his cap to cheers from the sellout crowd, he was met before the dugout steps by his son. He then was greeted by hugs from many of his teammates in the dugout before he watched the rest of the game with this son.

Wood will end a 14-year career that had him beginning as a starter and switching to a closer for the last seven years.

"Tremendous stuff," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi, who was a teammate of Wood's with the Cubs and managed him in New York. "Dominant stuff every day he went out, especially before he had the arm surgery. He had no-hit stuff. Loved playing with him. He's been a great player for a long time. I'm sure it's going to be a difficult day for him."

Wood has an 86-75 career record with a 3.67 ERA and 63 saves. He played 12 seasons with Chicago with stops with Cleveland and the New York Yankees. He finished with 1,582 strikeouts.

"He could have gone other places, but he loved Chicago and Chicago loves him," said Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker, who managed Wood in Chicago. "I thought he was gonna retire at the end of the year, but when the time calls, it's time to go. He's one of my favorite guys. Knew him since he was a kid in the Instructional League. He's a fine man."

This season, his second in his return stint with the Cubs, he has struggled with a 0-2 record and an 8.64 ERA while battling injuries.

Cubs fans, though, will remember him for the 1998 game at Wrigley Field during which he struck out 20 Houston Astros in his fifth career start. That tied Roger Clemens' record for most strikeouts in a nine-inning game.

He helped the Cubs earn playoff spots in 1998, 2003, 2007 and 2008. However, he also faced a myriad of injuries throughout his career. He was out for all of 1999 after Tommy John surgery.

--Chicago Cubs have selected the contract of catcher Blake Lalli from Class AAA Iowa and optioned right-handed pitcher Chris Volstad to the same club, the Cubs announced Friday.

Lalli, 29, who was signed as an undrafted rookie in 2006, has never played in a major-league game. He has hit .298 with 36 homers and 274 RBI in 591 minor-league games. He was hitting .178 with three homers and 11 RBI for Iowa this season.

Volstad struggled in eight major-league starts this season. He has a 0-6 record with a 7.46 ERA. He acquired in the off-season deal that sent Carlos Zambrano to the Miami Marlins.

--The Pittsburgh Pirates have recalled outfielder Gorkys Hernandez from Class AAA Indianapolis and have optioned right-handed pitcher Evan Meek to the same club, the Pirates announced Friday.

Hernandez, who is making his first trip to the majors, has hit .266 with two home runs and 14 RBI in 38 games this season.

Hernandez was acquired in a 2009 deal with Atlanta that sent Nate McLouth to the Atlanta Braves for Jair Jurrjens and Edgar Renteria. He was named the Pirates' best defensive outfielder by Baseball America magazine during the offseason.

Meek had a 7.59 ERA over 10 2/3 innings this season.

--The Arizona Diamondbacks have reinstated outfielder Chris Young from the 15-day disabled list, the team announced Friday.

To make room for Young, the Diamondbacks have optioned outfielder A.J. Pollack to Class AAA Reno.

Young sustained a right-shoulder contusion on an outfield catch April 18. He has appeared in four rehabilitation games with Class A Visalia and Reno, hitting .267 with one home run and eight RBI. Young was hitting .410 with five homers and 13 RBI in 11 games before he was injured.

Pollock, 24, was hitting .229 one homer and four RBI in 20 games with Diamondbacks, for whom he has played since April 23.

--Chicago White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko left Friday's game with the Chicago Cubs after being hit in the helmet with a pitch.

Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija threw a 1-2 inside pitch that sailed up and hit Konerko in the bill of his helmet. Konerko lay on the ground in pain for several minutes before he walked off the field.

Konerko appeared to suffer a cut above his left eye either from the ball or the helmet. He reportedly was undergoing further tests.

Konerko had opened the scoring in the game at Wrigley Field with a two-run homer run in the first inning.

In the fourth inning, White Sox pitcher Phillip Humber threw behind Cubs batter Bryan LaHair. The umpires then warned both benches about retaliation.

--The St. Louis Cardinals reportedly will place outfielder-first baseman Allen Craig on the disabled list Friday.

Craig will be sidelined because of a strained left hamstring sustained in Wednesday's victory in San Francisco, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Craig was sent to St. Louis for an examination by team orthopedic surgeon Dr. Lyndon Gross, the Post-Dispatch reported.

Craig, who is in his third major league season, was activated from the disabled list for 13 games after recovering from knee surgery in November.

Craig hit .315 with 11 home runs and 40 RBI last season. He became a breakout star after hitting three homers during the 2011 World Series. This season, he was hitting .373 with five homers and 19 RBI.

Also, the Cardinals are expected to place relief pitcher Kyle McClellan on the disabled list with right elbow pain. He underwent elbow surgery in 2006 and may have suffered a second rupture Thursday.

--Philadelphia Phillies manager Charlie Manuel has been suspended one game, Major League Baseball announced Friday.

Manuel will serve the suspension Friday night in the opener of a three-game series with the Boston Red Sox at Citizens Bank Park.

Manuel was suspended for arguing with umpires during Tuesday's game against Houston after a dispute over a dropped third strike.

One umpire, Bob Davidson, also was suspended after the incident for "repeated violations of the Office of the Commissioner's standards for situation handling," the league announced earlier this week.
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