Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood retires with one last flourish


Kerry Wood arrived in the majors 14 years ago, a fresh-faced kid with No. 34 on his back, slinging fastballs at 100 mph, delivering breaking pitches that were often unhittable and striking out 20 batters in just his fifth start.

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

Fittingly, “Kid K” struck out the last batter he’ll ever face 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 go out and play every day,” Wood said after his final game, a 3-2 loss to the White Sox.

Wood struck out Dayan Viciedo on three pitches, the last one a swing and a miss, in the eighth inning before he was replaced by bench coach Jamie Quirk — Manager Dale Sveum had been ejected earlier. His teammates joined Wood on the mound to congratulate him and he left to a rousing ovation. Even White Sox slugger Adam Dunn doffed his batting helmet and clapped for Wood as he stood at first base.

Wood hugged his son as he reached the dugout, then lifted the boy into his arms. Moments later, he came out for a curtain call and waved his cap to the fans.

“I felt like I was getting ready to pitch my first inning. The adrenaline was the same, the nerves were the same. I can’t give enough credit to the fans, just a tremendous feeling,” Wood said.

Wood went on the disabled list this season with shoulder fatigue — he was on the DL more than a dozen times during his career — and had struggled all year. His frustrations were evident when, after a bad outing against the Atlanta Braves at Wrigley Field, he tossed his cap and glove into the stands.

Wood finished the 1998 season ranked third in the NL in strikeouts and won the league’s Rookie of the Year award. He missed the final month with a sore right elbow, then had reconstructive elbow surgery the next April, starting a run of arm and shoulder problems that undercut his career. He missed the entire 1999 season.


Dufner takes Byron Nelson lead

Jason Dufner birdied four of the last five holes for a four-under 66 and a one-stroke lead after the second round of the Byron Nelson Championship at Irving, Texas. He had a seven-under 133 total.

Matt Kuchar was tied for second with first-round leader Ryan Palmer, Chad Campbell, Pat Perez, Dicky Pride and Marc Leishman.

Top-ranked Yani Tseng beat Katie Futcher 2 and 1, and No. 2 Na Yeon Choi was a 3-and-2 winner over fellow South Korean Jenny Shin in the second round of the Sybase Match Play Championship at Gladstone, N.J.

Stacy Lewis, coming off a victory in Alabama, advanced, beating Sandra Gal 4 and 3.

Cristie Kerr, last year’s runner-up, dropped out along with No. 7 Jiyai Shin and No. 14 Karrie Webb.

Top-seeded Martin Kaymer was eliminated from the Volvo World Match Play Championship at Casares, Spain, by the lowest-ranked player in the field, losing by 1-up to Richard Finch. Defending champion Ian Poulter beat Tom Lewis 4 and 3.

Justin Lofton raced to his first NASCAR Truck Series victory, getting the jump on race leader Brad Keselowski on a late restart and holding on at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. Keselowski finished second, and Todd Bodine was third.

Also at Charlotte, Kyle Busch, who has never won a Sprint Cup race at the track, captured the pole for Saturday night’s Sprint All-Star race.

In Lingerie charged to victory in the $300,000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes at Pimlico in Baltimore, holding off Disposable pleasure.

With John Velazquez aboard, Disposablepleasure stormed past pace-setter Mamma Kimbo and finished the 11/8 miles in 1:52.07. The Grade 2 race is for 3-year-old fillies.

Larry Drew will return for his third season as the Atlanta Hawks’ coach despite the team’s first-round exit from the playoffs. The Hawks exercised its option on his contract for next season.

A week after Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal made early exits in Madrid on an experimental blue court, both showed they remain a force on red clay by reaching the Italian Open semifinals.

The top-ranked Djokovic beat fifth-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 7-5, 6-1. Nadal defeated seventh-seeded Tomas Berdych, 6-4, 7-5.

Among the women, Serena Williams reached the last four after Flavia Pennetta quit with an injured right wrist while trailing 4-0 in the first set. Defending champion Maria Sharapova beat Venus Williams, 6-4, 6-3.

The Women’s Professional Soccer league has folded after three seasons.

Boxer Andre Berto tested positive for a performance-enhancing substance known as norandrosterone (also known as nandrolone), jeopardizing his June 23 world welterweight title fight against Oxnard’s Victor Ortiz at Staples Center.

Berto’s first and second urine samples were each declared positive by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Assn.

Promoter Richard Schaefer said the bout will go on with Ortiz facing another opponent if Berto is not available; Schaefer expects to have Berto’s situation clarified by the California State Athletic Commission by Monday.

Berto’s promoter Lou DiBella said he was still gathering details Friday. “I’ve always been

— Lance Pugmire