05/19/12 10:54 PM ET
No time for Lalli to settle in with Cubs
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
"They said, 'We're going to try to get you on a flight in 18 minutes,'" Lalli said.
He got dressed, threw some clothes in a bag, was rushed to the airport, sprinted to the gate and was too late. The plane was backing away from the gate. No big deal. When you've waited 29 years for the chance, what's another hour?
Lalli, who turned 29 on May 12, arrived in the sixth inning of Friday's game, watched Kerry Wood's final outing, then found himself catching in the ninth for his Major League debut. Lalli, who was batting .178 at Triple-A Iowa, was called up because catcher Geovany Soto needed arthroscopic surgery on his knee and backup Welington Castillo had knee problems, too.
Was Lalli nervous?
"Everyone's got butterflies, however, the way I got put into the game, I didn't have time to think," Lalli said. "It was not ideal but in a way it was very good. I was sitting here watching the game, and it was like, 'All right, you're in.'"
Parker exits with tightness in right hamstring
CHICAGO -- Cubs rookie reliever Blake Parker had to leave Saturday's game with tightness in his right hamstring and is is day to day.
The Cubs trailed, 6-0, when Parker entered in the eighth inning with the bases loaded and one out against the White Sox. He struck out pinch-hitter Brent Lillibridge and fell behind 3-0 to Alejandro De Aza. On his last pitch, he came off the mound awkwardly and athletic trainer Mark O'Neal immediately went to the mound.
"On the 1-0 pitch, I felt a cramp a little bit," Parker said. "On the 2-0 pitch, I tried to throw it and it tightened up. On the second pitch, when I pushed off the rubber, that's when I felt it and I threw the pitch with my upper body. I didn't have a choice."
Parker tried to talk O'Neal and manager Dale Sveum into letting him throw a couple pitches to test his leg, but he was lifted from the game.
"It feels fine right now," Parker said. "As far as pushing off the mound, we'll see. I feel fine now, I feel like I could run. We'll take it day by day and hopefully I wake up and I'm 100 percent."
This was Parker's second Major League appearance. The right-hander was called up Thursday from Triple-A Iowa where he was 5-for-5 in save opportunities.
Wells back in bullpen mix as long man
CHICAGO -- The Cubs' bullpen has a new look.
With the retirement of Kerry Wood, right-hander Randy Wells was recalled from Triple-A Iowa on Saturday to join the relief corps, which includes rookie Blake Parker, called up Thursday, and Casey Coleman, who was added one week ago.
In six starts at Iowa, Wells was 2-2 with a 7.71 ERA, giving up 26 earned runs on 36 hits and 12 walks over 30 1/3 innings. Wells made two starts for the Cubs in place of Ryan Dempster April 22 and April 28, and gave up six earned runs on nine hits and nine walks over 8 2/3 innings. He was optioned back to Iowa after the second game.
Wells will be used as the long man, with Coleman, James Russell, Shawn Camp and Rafael Dolis mixing and matching in the sixth through ninth innings.
There has been a lot of turnover.
"We've got a different team than we did a few days ago," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Saturday. "A lot's happened in a few days."
Epstein appreciates Wood's legacy with Cubs
CHICAGO -- Kerry Wood had talked informally about the next stage of his career with Theo Epstein, Cubs president of baseball operations, before the pitcher announced his retirement on Friday. Epstein said they discussed player development, scouting and front-office options.
Right now, Wood will focus on his family.
"He needs to take some time, as he said, to be a great dad, a great husband," Epstein said Saturday. "I always recommend taking a little bit of time away from the game."
Although Epstein has only been around Wood for about six months, he can understand the impact the right-hander had on the team and its fans.
"It's easy as a baseball fan to have an appreciation for what he's accomplished and his role in Cubs history," Epstein said. "Seeing his son run out there [on Friday], I think that got to me as well as everybody. It resonated to see that connection and how genuine that affection was for his son. It was really special.
"He's been through a lot just to get on the field, all the injuries he's had to battle through," Epstein said of Wood, who has been on the disabled list 16 times in his career. "The way he's gone about his business has been a great example for everybody."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.