Chicago Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood is expected to retire after more than 13… (Dilip Vishwanat / Getty…)
Chicago Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood is expected to pitch one last time -- possibly as soon as Friday's game against the Chicago White Sox -- before calling it a career after more than 13 seasons in the major leagues.
No announcement about Wood's retirement is expected to come before that outing, but a link to an MLB.com story about the pending move and the right hander's final appearance is posted on the Cubs' website.
Initial reports stated that Wood would retire Friday, but then the plan to allow him to pitch one more time surfaced. The team has said that Wood is available to pitch Friday afternoon, but it also has no intention of forcing him into a game, according to ESPN.Chicago.com.
Wood was the Cubs' top draft pick in 1995 and earned the nickname Kid K after striking out 20 batters in only his fifth major league start on May 6, 1998. He has 1,581 total strikeouts and his average of 10.313 strikeouts per nine innings pitched is first among active players and second on the all-time list.
The two-time All Star has spent all but two years of his career with the Cubs. In 2008 he switched from starter to closer and compiled 34 saves that season. After stints with the Cleveland Indians and New York Yankees in 2009-10, he returned to the Cubs last year and performed well enough (3.35 ERA in 51 innings pitched) to earn a $3 million deal for 2012.
But he is off to a disastrous start this season, with a 8.64 ERA and an 0-2 record in nine games. Perhaps that's the reasoning behind the unusual retirement plan -- give the longtime Cub a chance to leave on a happy note.
“I hope he goes out there and finishes on a great note,” Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster said. “He's been a great friend and a great teammate and a great Chicago Cub.”
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Kerry Wood to retire after one last game with the Cubs