Three hours after leaving Wrigley Field for X-rays on his right foot, Kyle Farnsworth returned to the scene of the crime.
Farnsworth was smiling, but it didn't take a genius to realize that something was wrong. He was on crutches.
"It's a stress fracture," Farnsworth said. "They said [I'd be out] four to six weeks."
Farnsworth's stunning news made an already bad day even tougher to take for Cubs manager Don Baylor.
After his team took a one-run lead on the New York Mets in the seventh inning Wednesday, Baylor had to decide whether to leave starter Kerry Wood in the game.
Wood had been dominating the Mets, allowing just one run.
But Wood had a blister on the tip of his right middle finger and Baylor said he would have been "taking a chance" to keep him in the game.
Complicating the decision was the fact Farnsworth, Baylor's top right-handed setup man, was unavailable after injuring his foot while warming up in the bullpen.
"I was fully expecting to go [back] out," Wood said. "I was ready to go."
But Baylor turned to Jeff Fassero, who retired the first two batters in the eighth before surrendering back-to-back homers to Roberto Alomar and Mike Piazza.
The Mets held on for the 3-2 victory on another day in which the Cubs' offense was worthy of ridicule.
The Cubs managed just one hit against left-hander Shawn Estes, who never has been mistaken for Sandy Koufax.
And the one hit was a Corey Patterson dribbler that traveled about 10 feet.
The Cubs scored their two runs in the seventh after Patterson walked on a 3-2 pitch, Sammy Sosa walked on a questionable 3-2 breaking ball and Fred McGriff reached on an error.
Alex Gonzalez singled home Patterson and pinch-hitter Todd Hundley hit a sacrifice fly to put the Cubs ahead 2-1.
Baylor said he would have stuck with Wood if the game had been tied or the Cubs were still behind.
But with a one-run lead, Baylor didn't want to take a chance with Wood's blister.
Wood, who had struck out 10 batters and allowed just four hits, didn't get an opportunity to plead his case with Baylor.
"He said, `That's enough,'" Wood recalled.
Wood said the blister, which developed during his last start, gave him a "burning" sensation when he threw curveballs late in the game.
"As far as whether this is going to be a problem for me, I don't think so," Wood said. "I'm not sure what caused it. It's in a weird spot for me."
After retiring Roger Cedeno and Joe McEwing, Fassero was left in the game to face Alomar, who was 8-for-16 against him with two homers.
"It was a relief to face someone you know," Alomar said. "I was surprised [Wood] did not pitch that inning."
Alomar smacked Fassero's first-pitch fastball toward right field. Fassero thought it would be out No. 3.
"I started walking off the field," he said. "Then I watched Sammy going back and I said, `What the [heck] is going on?'
"I wasn't going to get beat by him pulling the ball for a home run. Neither one of them. I did what I had to."
Piazza, who had struck out in all three at-bats against Wood, ripped a 3-1 slider to the back of the bleachers in right.
With their offense still in a deep freeze, the Cubs couldn't respond.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times