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Thursday, February 25, 2010
Riggleman takes blame for overuse of Wood

By ESPNChicago.com

Kerry Wood
Kerry Wood doesn't blame former Cubs manager Jim Riggleman for any of the injuries he has suffered in his career.

Even after Kerry Wood admonished him of any blame, former Chicago Cubs manager Jim Riggleman again took responsibility for his use of Wood during the Cubs' 1998 season.

A 20-year-old rookie in 1998, Wood struck out 233 batters in 166 2/3 innings. He had nine starts in which he threw at least 120 pitches. Arm problems plagued Wood in 1999 and thoughout much of his career.

Wood, now the Cleveland Indians' closer, told Chicago Now that Riggleman is not to blame for his injuries.

"Wow, I hadn't heard his comments, and I really don't agree with that," Wood told Chicago Now. "Look, I had bad mechanics back then and it was very hard for me to try to correct them when what I was doing was working. I remember many times thinking that I wish Jim would leave me in the game because I still felt strong."

On Thursday, Riggleman praised Wood and again took responsiblity for overusing him.

"I love that guy, and I feel terrible about what happened to him," Riggleman said on "The Scott Van Pelt Show" on ESPN Radio. "I feel I was part of it. I was responsible for the ballclub. When any of your pitchers get hurt you feel terrible about it. He's just such a man and a stand-up guy that he's not putting it on me or anyone else.

"We threw him in a situation where we were in a pennant race with a chance to win, and he was dominant. We let him pitch and the next thing you know next year he breaks down. It was ligament damage that who knows, maybe it would have happened anyway but if we took the more conservative route it would be a little easier for me to look in the mirror about it then it is when you just pitch him to win."