Cubs' Lee likely out for season to tend to daughter
CHICAGO -- Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee could be out for the rest of the season because of his 3-year-old daughter's illness.
"You break your wrist and you think that's a big deal. Then something like this happens and it kind of slaps you in the face of what really matters."
Lee had missed the last two games before he said Sunday he was taking a leave of absence to be with his wife and child.
"My daughter's lost some vision in one eye and we'll find out more at a later time; we have to go through some more tests," Lee said in a statement. "Right now we just ask for everyone's prayers. We need a miracle, we need your prayers. We need everyone to believe she's going to be OK."
Jada is the only child for Lee and his wife, Christina. Lee fought back tears as he addressed the media and then spoke to the team in private in the clubhouse.
"Some of us have known for a few days," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "But you can't say anything if he didn't want to say anything. Quite frankly, I'm surprised he said anything."
Lee turned 31 this month and the 2005 NL batting champion has played just 49 games this season, hitting .287 with eight home runs and 30 RBI. He broke his left wrist April 19 and missed 58 games before returning to the team in late June. He went on the DL a second time in late July with inflammation in the wrist and missed another month.
"You break your wrist and you think that's a big deal," Lee said. "Then something like this happens and it kind of slaps you in the face of what really matters."
The Cubs, in last place in the National League before Sunday's game, have dealt with a slew of injuries this season, many of them unusual and quite serious. In the last two weeks, catcher Michael Barrett has required surgery for bleeding in his scrotum after taking a foul ball in the groin, and pitcher Glendon Rusch is still hospitalized with a blood clot in his lung. Pitchers Mark Prior and Kerry Wood have missed most of the season with injuries.
"It's been a real tough year," Baker said. "Some strange things have happened this year, to say the least. Every time there's one thing you think is the most serious, there comes a more serious one."
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
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