Hendry hospitalized, still gets Lilly to agree

Updated: December 9, 2006, 2:14 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

CHICAGO -- Chicago Cubs general manager Jim Hendry was released from an Orlando Fla., hospital Friday, two days after an angioplasty during the baseball winter meetings.

"I'm feeling good," Hendry told reporters, adding he'd had numerous calls and messages from friends and those connected to the game. "I'm back to myself."

Jim Hendry
Hendry

Hendry will remain in Florida until Sunday and hopes to resume work on Monday during what has been a frenetic offseason for the Cubs, whose most recent major deal was to work out a four-year, $40 million deal with lefty Ted Lilly.

Hendry also thanked those who persuaded him to go to the hospital. He began feeling ill Tuesday. New manager Lou Piniella drove him to the hospital Wednesday.

"I'm very, very grateful for the support I've had from the people who care about me. I'm feeling a lot better and very, very appreciative for everything people have done for me," Hendry said.

After he was hospitalized, Cubs staff were surprised at his good condition.

"He's in good spirits," said Gary Hughes, a special assistant to Hendry. "Was he shook up about it? No. Should he have been? Yes. Will he learn a lesson? Hopefully. He's doing great. I spoke to him late last night. He's already working the phones."

Hendry didn't feel right from the moment he arrived at the meetings on Sunday. But there were trades to make and free agents such as Lilly to sign, so Hendry ignored several pleas from Piniella and Hughes to see a doctor.

"Piniella and myself, we were the first of many," Hughes said Thursday after revealing that Hendry had undergone an angioplasty. "It took him a while to get to the hospital because he thought it was more important to worry about the Rule 5 draft, Lilly, whatever. His priorities were skewed."

Team physician Stephen Adams sent the 51-year-old GM to an Orlando-area hospital for tests. Piniella drove him there, and doctors performed an angioplasty. But Hendry kept closing deals, finishing up a $40 million, four-year agreement with Lilly on Wednesday night from the hospital.

"Ted had no idea where [Hendry] was, or anything," Hughes said. "It was business as usual."

"Jim was hooked up to an EKG machine, and we got it done," Lilly's agent, Larry O'Brien, told reporters.

Other GMs were not surprised to hear Hendry was making deals from the hospital: "That's Jimmy," said Brian Sabean of the San Francisco Giants.

Hendry has been perhaps baseball's busiest general manager during the offseason, agreeing to a $136 million, eight-year contract with Alfonso Soriano and re-signing Aramis Ramirez for $75 million over five years -- along with making several other deals.

Lily and the Cubs reached a preliminary agreement on a contract worth about $40 million over four years. The team said the deal was pending a physical.

"He's a Cub and wants to be part of getting them back to the World Series," O'Brien said.

Earlier in the day, Lilly eliminated a return to Toronto, where he spent the past three seasons of his eight-year major league career. He went 15-13 with a 4.31 ERA in 32 starts and 181 2/3 innings during 2006 and has won 10 or more games in each of the past four seasons.

Since the end of the season, Hendry also re-signed pitcher Kerry Wood to a $1.75 million, one-year contract and backup catcher Henry Blanco to a $5.25 million, two-year deal. The Cubs also agreed with second baseman Mark DeRosa on a $13 million, three-year contract.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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