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Kerry Wood Reveals He Has Hole in Heart

From Staff and Wire Reports

Chicago Cub pitcher Kerry Wood has a dime-sized hole in his heart, but doesn’t expect the condition to affect his baseball career, the Chicago Tribune reported Sunday.

The 22-year-old Wood, who won the 1998 NL rookie of the year after going 13-6 and tying a major-league record with 20 strikeouts in a game, missed last season after blowing out his right elbow in March.

In February, Wood learned he had a condition called atrial septal defect, which can cause a gradual weakening of the heart and cut life expectancy to 40 years. His 43-year-old mother, Terry, also has ASD.

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Doctors in Mesa, Ariz., discovered the hole in the wall separating the two upper chambers. Doctors often recommend that the hole be closed at some point--Wood’s doctors told him his would have to be fixed by the time he was 30 or 40. But even if the hole goes unfixed, doctors said there is no danger of Wood collapsing on the mound.

Wood chose not to have surgery right away after doctors told him he could wait, but will have an echocardiogram (an ultrasound of the heart) done every year.

“Most (people with ASD) survive,” Dr. Keith Horvath, assistant professor of cardiothoracic surgery at Northwestern University Medical School, told the Tribune. “From a surgical point of view, it’s a very low-risk thing to fix.”

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George Brett, currently Kansas City’s vice president of operations, is a candidate to replace Jim Leyland as Colorado’s manager, The Denver Post reported Saturday. But Colorado General Manager Dan O’Dowd said Cincinnati director of player development, Buddy Bell, remains the top candidate. Brett and his brother, Bobby, are also potential members of an investment group to buy the Angels. . . . Even as their search for a general manager appears to narrow to lead candidates Bill Stoneman and Bob Watson, the Angels continued to gauge interest among a second tier of possibilities. Sandy Johnson, the assistant general manager with Arizona, has been contacted, according to a source familiar with the process, as has Tim Purpura, an assistant general manager for Houston. Jim Duquette, 33, interviewed with Disney executive Sandy Litvack on Friday afternoon in New York. . . . Dodger outfielder Raul Mondesi, who demanded to be traded during an expletive-filled diatribe Aug. 11. will decide next week whether to uphold that demand, sources close to Mondesi said Saturday. Regardless of Mondesi’s decision, Dodger General Manager Kevin Malone may still trade him in an attempt to address one of the Dodgers’ many deficiencies. Mondesi batted a career-low .253 this season, but established personal bests with 33 home runs, 36 stolen bases and 99 runs batted in.

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Staff writers Jason Reid and Tim Brown contributed to this story.


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