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Wood posts one final strikeout, then retires

CHICAGO — Kerry Wood arrived in the majors 14 years ago, slinging fastballs at 100 mph, delivering breaking pitches that were often unhittable and striking out 20 batters in his fifth start.

On Friday, he left the game after one final, emotional appearance with the Cubs.

Fittingly, "Kid K" struck out the last batter he faced and retired at 34, ending a career that was eye-popping at times but hampered by injuries.

"I had a blast. I wouldn't trade it in. I learned from the injuries, I learned about my body and what it takes to compete and … play every day," Wood said after a 3-2 loss to the White Sox. … It was time."

In the eighth, Wood struck out Dayan Viciedo on three pitches for his 1,582nd career strikeout. His teammates joined him on the mound and he left to a rousing ovation. Wood hugged his 6-year-old son, Justin, who ran into his arms prior to his dad reaching the dugout. Wood then came out for a curtain call.

"I felt like I was getting ready to pitch my first inning. The adrenaline was the same, the nerves were the same," he said.

Wood went on the disabled list earlier this year with shoulder fatigue — he was on the DL more than a dozen times over his career — and had struggled all year. After a bad outing against the Braves at Wrigley, he tossed his cap and glove into the stands.

"I definitely didn't want to go out with my last inning being me throwing my glove in the seats," Wood said. "I wanted to put up a zero or at least get one guy out."

Wood is best known for his 20-strikeout game on May 6, 1998, allowing one hit in a 2-0 win over the Astros. When Wood stuck out Bill Spiers in the ninth for his 19th strikeout, he tied the NL record. He struck out Derek Bell to end the game and tied Roger Clemens' mark (the two remain the only MLB pitchers to do it in nine innings).

Clemens case: Clemens' lawyer accused the former pitcher's former strength coach of changing testimony "on the fly," and the judge in the perjury trial imposed a time limit on all future witnesses. Brian McNamee admitted he "misspoke" while explaining medical evidence he saved in a beer can. Attorney Rusty Hardin cross-examined McNamee, who said he injected the pitcher with performance-enhancing drugs, for a fifth day. U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton put both sides on notice that the trial needs to wrap up by June 8 or it will have to recess for about a month because of scheduling conflicts. The government said it has nine witnesses to call.

Hamilton's future: Rangers OF Josh Hamilton insists he isn't worried about his impending free agency. "God will show up and I'll be here or somewhere else," he said. "It's not about where I want to be, it's about where he wants me to be." Team president Nolan Ryan said the Rangers will put their "best foot forward" but "you don't know what somebody else might do."

Manuel, ump suspensions: Phillies manager Charlie Manuel was suspended one game for his argument with plate umpire Bob Davidson on Tuesday. Davidson also received a one-game suspension for what MLB called "repeated violations" in how umpires are supposed to handle situations. Manuel, who served his suspension Friday, was ejected after he thought a ball had been foul tipped and the argument escalated into profanities. Davidson also sat out Friday.

White Sox: 1B Paul Konerko suffered a cut above his left eye when he was hit by a pitch in the third inning and left the game. Konerko, who homered earlier, was scheduled to have more tests to determine the extent of the injury.

Masters of K

Among pitchers with at least 1,000 innings, Kerry Wood is one of three in MLB history whose strikeouts per nine innings was 10.0 or higher:

Randy Johnson 10.6
Kerry Wood 10.3
Pedro Martinez 10.0

Source: ESPN

Wood posts one final strikeout, then retires 05/18/12 [Last modified: Friday, May 18, 2012 10:16pm]
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