Results tagged ‘ Kerry Wood ’
Jason Berken inserted himself into the Cubs record books on Thursday. In the second inning, Berken struck out four — Ryan Hanigan reached on a wild pitch — and is the fifth pitcher in franchise history to do so. The list includes Jim Davis (May 27, 1956), Bill Bonham (July 31, 1974), Kerry Wood (Sept. 2, 2002) and Ryan Dempster (Oct. 4, 2009). That also ties a National League and Major League mark, shared by many.
“I didn’t realize it until I sat down in the dugout,” Berken said. “That’s cool, I guess. By no means am I going for strikeouts.”
He was effective with his sliders and able to get ahead in the count. That helped.
“I’m not going to try to get used to that,” he said of the strikeouts. “I’d much rather have early contact versus a strikeout.”
– Carrie Muskat
In late April, I went to Des Moines to watch Triple-A Iowa play. I was talking to one of the Cubs coaches, and the topic was Anthony Rizzo. The first baseman was getting rave reviews on his defensive work, on his pre-game routine, on his hitting. Was Rizzo ready for the big leagues? The coach said: “The only problem will be you.”
He didn’t mean me personally, but the media. The hype surrounding Rizzo’s potential call-up has been off the charts. I’m surprised no one has interviewed his grade school teacher in Ft. Lauderdale, although that story could be coming Sunday. When Rizzo was promoted to the Padres last June, he was batting .365 at Triple-A Tucson. He struggled in the big leagues, batting .143 in 35 games, and was sent back to the Minor Leagues. When he was recalled in September, he batted .133 in 14 games. GM Jed Hoyer blamed himself, saying Rizzo faced high expectations when promoted, and still needed time to develop.
Moving Bryan LaHair to the outfield for the White Sox series was a sign that Rizzo is close. When? Theo Epstein wants to make sure the timing is right.
“You have to look at what happened last year,” Epstein said. “[Rizzo] had great numbers and was rushed a little bit and came up and struggled so its important to put players in position to succeed, and always put your Major League club in position to succeed. … Those things you don’t want to rush into, there’s more to development than numbers.”
Dale Sveum has been checking Rizzo’s stats and video all year. The first baseman has lowered his hands, and gotten better results. On Friday, Rizzo missed hitting for the cycle by home run, going 3-for-5 with three RBIs. He’s batting .355 overall, including .384 with runners in scoring position. Against lefties, he’s batting .338 (25-for-74), and against right-handers, he’s batting .362 (63-for-174). He has 23 homers, 18 doubles and 62 RBIs. Wouldn’t those numbers look good in the Cubs lineup?
Rizzo is very polished, very poised for a 22-year-old (he turns 23 Aug. 8). He’s going to be the center of attention, and every at-bat, every strikeout, every hit will be dissected and discussed. Nothing can prepare him for that. He’s not the savior; he’s a very talented first baseman with a ton of potential who could be one of the building blocks for Theo Epstein’s foundation for sustained success.
That’s Kerry Wood in the center of the media scrum at his retirement announcement above. I remember the build up surrounding Wood when he was promoted in ’98. The expectations soared after his 20-strikeout game in his fifth Major League start. The only Cubs player I can recall being more hyped than Rizzo was Mark Prior. Rizzo already has his first Major League hit and home run, collecting those firsts with the Padres last year. If he gets off to a slow start, will fans and the media be patient? Ryne Sandberg did not get a hit in his first six games with the Cubs.
When the Cubs call the first baseman up, they want it to be for good. Here’s hoping the timing is right, and I’m not a problem.
– Carrie Muskat
Kerry Wood and his wife Sarah will host the Strike Zone Celebrity Bowling Tournament on June 27 from 7:30-10:30 p.m. CT at the 10pin Bowling Lounge in Chicago to benefit the Wood Family Foundation. There will be a silent auction this year, and it’s already up and running online. Check out the items at www.WoodFamilyFoundation.org — you have until 10:00pm CT on June 26 to submit a bid there. The auction will continue live at the event where online bidders will be represented by proxy. The auction will close at the end of the evening at the event, with online winners being contacted shortly thereafter.
Some of the items include:
* Cubs-themed golf cart signed by the team
* Autographed memorabilia, including a Derek Jeter Yankees jersey, Tony Esposito Blackhawks jersey, and numerous game-used Cubs items
* Fishing trip with Kerry
* Bowling with Theo Epstein
* Chance to throw out he first pitch at Wrigley Field
* Tickets to a taping of Saturday Night Live
* A private meet and greet with WWE Superstar CM Punk
The Wood Family Foundation was founded in June 2011 by Kerry and his wife. The foundation works to improve the lives of children in and around Chicago by raising funds and awareness for its children’s programs and other children’s charities they support. The WFF acts as an advocate for children in the Chicago community, inspiring others to join them in their mission of giving children the resources they need to succeed.
Individual tickets (standing room only) are $1,000 per person & $10,000 per sponsored lane (4 bowlers + 4 guests). Go to WoodFamilyFoundation.org for more information.
– Carrie Muskat
It’s June 1. What did we learn about the Cubs in May?
* They don’t have a closer. Carlos Marmol had the job, then lost it to rookie Rafael Dolis, who is now at Triple-A Iowa trying to find his command. James Russell, Shawn Camp and even Casey Coleman will take turns saving games as Dale Sveum goes with the best matchup.
* Bryan LaHair is not Babe Ruth. The first baseman hit .390 in April with five homers, eight doubles and 14 RBIs, then cooled off in May.
* Starlin Castro may not be a No. 3 hitter.
* They survived a 12-game losing streak, and won three in a row earlier than last year’s team did. Give credit to even keel Sveum and his staff.
* They need more catchers. Geovany Soto, Steve Clevenger, and Welington Castillo went on DL in a matter of days.
* Kerry Wood’s career ended perfectly with one last strikeout May 18, and he can now focus on 6-year-old son Justin’s Little League games.
April (23 games): .237 BA; .294 OBP; .339 slugging; .633 OPS; 9 homers, 75 RBIs
May (27 games): .259 BA; .320 OBP; .429 slugging; .748 OPS; 30 homers; 96 RBIs
April: 8-15; 4.21 ERA; 2-for-5 save opportunities
May: 10-17; 4.47 ERA; 5-for-10 save opportunities
Ryan Dempster: 0-2, 3.72 ERA, 6 starts
Matt Garza: 0-2, 6.86 ERA, 4 starts
Bryan LaHair: .253 BA; .343 OBP; .448 slugging; .792 OPS; 2 doubles, 5 HR, 8 RBIs
Darwin Barney .284 BA; .344 OBP; .489 slugging; .832 OPS; 2 HR, 10 doubles, 8 RBIs
Starlin Castro .304 BA; .311 OBP; .452 slugging; .763 OPS; 4 HR, 1 double, 18 RBIs
David DeJesus .317 BA; .400 OBP; .495 slugging; .895 OPS; 7 doubles, 4 triples, 1 HR, 8 RBIs
Alfonso Soriano, .290 BA; .353 OBP; .591 slugging; .944 OPS; 7 HRs, 7 doubles, 17 RBIs
Shawn Camp 2-1, 13 games, 1.35 ERA
Paul Maholm 2-1, 3.56 ERA, 5 starts
Jeff Samardzija 3-2, 2.48 ERA, 6 starts
– Carrie Muskat
Kerry Wood shares lessons he’s learned in life in a new book, “All You Can Be: Learning and Growing through Sports.” Art students from Chicago Public Schools helped illustrate the book. Anyone can benefit from the valuable principles Wood learned, such as staying positive, working with teammates, and the importance of family, even if you don’t want to be a Major League pitcher. The book also has photos of Wood growing up and from his days with the Cubs. Published by Triumph Books, the list price is $16.95, and proceeds go to the Wood Family Foundation. Wood, 34, retired on May 18 after 14 seasons. On Wednesday, Wood was at Wrigley Field to introduce the book and meet the artists who did the drawings. This is Wood’s story, but yours truly did the writing.
– Carrie Muskat
Kerry Wood will sign copies of a new book, “All You Can Be: Learning and Growing Through Sports,” on May 29 at Barnes & Noble Old Orchard, Skokie, IL, 7:30-9 p.m. CT; May 30 at The Cubs Store, Wrigley Field, 45 minutes after the game; and June 29 at Costco, 2746 N. Clybourn Ave., Chicago, 7-8:30 p.m.
This is Wood’s first children’s book in which he shares valuable principles he learned growing up that helped him have success in the Major Leagues. Fourth graders from Chicago Public Schools provided drawings exemplifying their own goals for the future and the illustrations are included in the book. A portion of all proceeds will help support children’s programs run by the Wood Family Foundation.
– Carrie Muskat
It seemed as if Kerry Wood’s final appearance was perfectly scripted but Cubs bench coach Jamie Quirk said the right-hander almost went longer in the game rather than the drama of striking out one batter and exiting. Quirk, manager Dale Sveum and the other coaches had talked about Wood’s request to have one more appearance before retiring. They weren’t sure exactly when it would happen. What complicated things a little was that Sveum was ejected in the fifth, which meant the final decision was up to Quirk.
“We knew we wanted to get him in — we didn’t know it would be that day, that weekend,” Quirk said Wednesday. “It was emotional, even for me, and I’ve only been around Kerry for three months. I was literally thinking he would pitch to the two right-handers [Dayan Viciedo and Alex Rios]. [Wood] was due up sixth [in the Cubs eighth]. The worst case scenario is he would pitch to the two right-handers, and I told [pitching coach Chris Bosio] if we don’t get to his spot, I can send him back out and then we can go get him and he can get his ovation.”
Wood struck out Viciedo on three pitches and Rios had poor numbers against left-handed pitchers so Quirk decided to pull Wood at that point and called on left-hander James Russell.
“What better time? He just struck him out, we still had a ballgame,” Quirk said. “I knew I wasn’t hurting our chances to win to bring in Russell to face the right-hander because the right-hander didn’t hit lefties well. I wasn’t putting the game in jeopardy. If it was in jeopardy, I would’ve had [Wood] face the right-hander. It was just right to do it at that time.”
– Carrie Muskat
How did Kerry Wood’s right arm feel Saturday on the first day as a retired ballplayer?
“Awesome,” he said.
Friday was Wood’s last game but on Saturday, he made it official, formally announcing his retirement in a brief and intimate ceremony at Wrigley Field. The Cubs pitcher delivered a long list of thank you’s, from his wife, Sarah, to his father to Ron Santo to former pitching coaches, managers and teammates.
“I’m excited for the future and I’m excited to watch what these guys are going to be capable of doing,” Wood said, citing young Cubs Starlin Castro, Darwin Barney and James Russell. “These guys are starting the journey I’m ending today, and I’m looking forward to watching these guys grow and learn this game and ultimately bring a championship to the city that deserves it.”
And he thanked Cubs fans.
“This is home,” Wood said of Chicago. “This is why I came back. The fans, this stadium. [Friday] was the best weather day we had, this place was beautiful and rocking. That’s the way I want to remember Wrigley Field and that’s the way I will remember it.”
He was presented with a photo of him hugging his son Justin as he came off the field on Friday, as well as the flag that flew on top of Wrigley, commemorating his 20-strikeout game from May 1998.
“I was always a Cub, I’ve always been a Cub, and I’ll always continue to be a Cub,” said Wood, standing near the pitcher’s mound on Saturday, surrounded by the current team and manager Dale Sveum
What’s next for Wood? He’s not sure. For now, he’ll play with his kids. On Saturday, he could watch Justin’s Little League game.
– Carrie Muskat