According to several reports, Lou Piniella has announced that he will retire at the end of this season.
The Cubs have scheduled a press conference for 4:15pm CDT on Tuesday afternoon with Piniella, Jim Hendry and Tom Ricketts.
Updated – 4:17pm CDT – During the afternoon press conference, Tom Ricketts announced that Jim Hendry will continue to be the Cubs General Manager into next season. From the Tribune:
“I couldn’t be more appreciative of the Cubs organization for providing me the opportunity to manage this ballclub,” Piniella said in a statement. “I’ve had four wonderful years here that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. I’ve grown to love the city and the fans but at my age (67 at the end of the season) it will be time to enter a new phase in my life. It will enable me to spend more valuable time with my family — my wife, my kids and my grandchildren. God has blessed me to have been able to work this many years in the game that I love.
“Why make this announcement now? Jim Hendry asked me in recent weeks regarding my future with the team and I told him I had made the decision to retire at the end of the season. Since my decision has now been made, I don’t want to mislead anyone about my intentions when asked in the future.
“But more importantly, announcing my decision now is what’s best for this organization in the long run. It gives Jim Hendry ample time to find the next manager and he doesn’t need to do so in secrecy. The Cubs are one of the greatest organizations in baseball. I care very deeply for this organization and want nothing more than for it to experience present and long-term success. I’m proud of our accomplishments during my time here and this will be a perfect way for me to end my career.
“But let me make one thing perfectly clear: our work is far from over. I want to keep the momentum going more than anything else and win as many games as we can to get back in this pennant race. I’m going to give every effort I have to help this team win and that will remain my sole focus through the rest of the season.”