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Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood set to retire

Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood is expected announce his retirement Crosstown series. | Getty Images

Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood is expected to announce his retirement at the Crosstown series. | Getty Images

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Updated: May 18, 2012 1:26PM

Kerry Wood, maybe the most beloved Cubs pitcher since Greg Maddux made his first exit from Chicago, has decided he will retire, but will do so after making one more appearance, possibly today during the Crosstown series against the White Sox.

After that final appearance, Wood is expected to clarify his future plans.

How and when Wood would take the mound one last time was a bit confusing, considering Cubs manager Dale Sveum had just heard the news less than a day ago.

“We’ve talked about it,” Sveum said. “But I don’t think it’s appropriate to talk about {publicly} until it gets out from Kerry Wood.

“I heard less than 24 hours ago. You don’t really prepare for something like this.”

Wood, 34, last pitched on Tuesday, allowing one run, one hit and two walks on one inning against the St. Louis Cardinals. He has struggled with his command all season, compiling an 8.64 ERA in nine outings. Wood has also battled shoulder trouble this season, as he has throughout his career.

Wood’s wife posted the following message on her Facebook page Friday morning: “every story has an end but in life every ending is just a new beginning.”

Kerry Wood was at Wrigley Field on Friday morning, walking the outfield with his son during batting practice.

“Obviously he got a place where it’s really hard to pitch,” said teammate and close friend Ryan Dempster. “I know a lot of people coming to the game don’t know if it will be today, tomorrow, or whatever, but I hope he gets a huge standing ovation.

“He’s a great teammate and agreat human being. It’s been a huge pleasure for me and a privilege to play with him.”

Asked if he had inkling of the retirement, Dempster said: “He kept it under wraps pretty good. We’ve talked a lot over the last little while, and I just try to let him know I’m here for him no matter what. I appreciate everything he’s ever done for me. It’s going to be weird not seeing him out there.”

Wood came within hours of retiring in 2007 but decided to come back after the pain in his shoulder subsided during a summer throwing session.

Wood is expected to continue with the Cubs organization in some capacity.

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