National Sports Briefs: Wood wanted to stay with Cubs
CHICAGO ó Kerry Wood prepared himself mentally and emotionally last season, knowing it might be his last one with the Chicago Cubs. Turned out, it was.
Wood wanted to stay with the only team he’s ever pitched for, but the economic realities of the game and the team’s needs in other areas prevented that from happening.
After recovering from serious shoulder problems and numerous injuries that have sidetracked his career as a starter, Wood became a top closer last season. And now as a free agent, he can hit the market and command a multiyear contract that the Cubs were not willing to offer.
“It’s bittersweet. Obviously this is my first choice. I wanted to stay here and the best choice for me and my family. … But that’s part of baseball right now,” Wood said.
Wood’s comments came one day after the Cubs traded for Marlins reliever Kevin Gregg. General manager Jim Hendry told reporters that the fair thing was for the team to let Wood get a deal he deserved.
The GM had already told Wood face-to-face what the Cubs were planning and that getting him a multiyear was not one of the top priorities.
– MISSION VIEJO, Calif. ó SCP Auctions bought a full Babe Ruth 1938 Brooklyn Dodgers road uniform for $310,500 at auction at the Louisville Slugger Museum.
Ruth was a first-base coach for the Dodgers during the 1938 season, his final season in baseball. He also took batting practice with the team to appease fans who wanted another glimpse at the great slugger.
– PHOENIX ó Randy Johnson filed for free agency on Thursday after failing to reach a contract agreement to return to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The 45-year-old lefty is five wins shy of 300 and “hopes to find a team where he can continue to pitch at a high level and contribute to another world championship,” agents Barry Meister and Alan Nero said.
GUADALAJARA, Mexico ó Annika Sorenstam nearly holed her third shot on the par-5 18th, then lipped out a 9-foot birdie try to give Angela Stanford a one-stroke victory Sunday in the inaugural Lorena Ochoa Invitational.
Sorenstam, making her second-to-last start before she leaves the LPGA Tour, holed out from a bunker for birdie on the par-3 16th to get to 12 under ó a stroke behind Stanford ó but settled for pars on the final two holes. On the 18th, her wedge shot rolled just by the side of the cup as it spun back down the green.
NEW YORK ó Gary Hall Jr. went out early Sunday morning to catch a few waves.Time to get on with the rest of his life.
The 10-time Olympic medalist has officially retired from swimming and turned his attention to a new challenge: helping those with diabetes lead long, productive lives.
SHANGHAI, China ó Novak Djokovic’s victory celebration turned out to be more dangerous than his opponent.
Jubilant after overwhelming Russia’s Nikolay Davydenko 6-1, 7-5 in the Masters Cup final Sunday, Djokovic tossed just about everything in reach ó two rackets, wristbands and his sweat-soaked shirt ó into the cheering crowd.