Quick Hits 5-19-12Great stories in MLB this week.Kerry Wood shut it down in very cool fashion this week at Wrigley. Wood was a great pitcher who is a cult figure in Chicago. There is nothing sad about his story. I’ve read and heard some baseball media talk about what could have been if Wood never suffered the injuries he had. Who cares? This guy was awesome and pitched 14 seasons in the major leagues. He had an awesome career and will always be remembered for the 20 strikeout performance in 1998, tying the MLB record.I was at that game as a member of the Houston Astros bullpen. Prior to the game I was in the outfield shagging baseballs when a Cubs fan yelled out to me, “Hey CJ, what do you think of this Wood kid? Do you think he’s the real deal?” I had told the guy that no doubt he was a legit talent. I had seen him in AAA the year before and his future was bright. The fan said, “I made 16 K signs for the game (as he was showing me one of them), do you think I have enough?” I said, “He’s good but I think 16 will be plenty” and kind of laughed him off. Mind you this was the 1998 102 win Houston Astros lineup, Biggio, Bagwell and Moises Alou. Carl Everett (didn’t play that day) had a break out season and Derek Bell hit .314 and slugged .490 that year. We were good. I can only imagine that fan’s excitement when he ran out of K signs in the left field bleachers at Wrigley. As the game was getting late I was thinking about our conversation, I’m sure he was too. Toronto 3B Brett Lawrie exploded when home plate umpire Bill Miller called a 3rd strike on Lawrie that was clearly a ball. You know the story, Lawrie slammed down his helmet and inadvertently it hit Miller. Lawrie received a 4 game suspension from MLB. I thought he got off light, I was expecting 10. With that being said I have no problem with Lawrie’s actions. I like guys who play the game with that level of intensity. There is nothing wrong with snapping on an umpire once in a while, especially when it is justified. Don’t feel bad for them, its part of the game and being an MLB umpire is a good gig. The physical part of the altercation was clearly accidental. Had it been on purpose then rightfully we would be talking about a much bigger suspension and fine. I heard a former teammate of mine say on the radio that Brett Lawrie was way out of line, especially for a rookie. I couldn’t disagree more. You fight for your job everyday in MLB, especially rookies. Technically Lawrie is not a rookie, but he’s pretty close in regard to time spent in the league. Lawrie is a great talent, he knew that pitch was a ball. If Bill Miller called that pitch a strike because Lawrie started making his way to first base on the pitch before that he also thought was ball 4, then absolutely let him have it. 10 years in the league or less than 1, when you get screwed don’t lay down and take it. I see more and more former players who lose sight of what it was like to be on the field the further they get away from their playing days. Andy Pettitte returned to the Yankees this week. I was as curious as anyone to see how he would perform after first retiring in 2010 and taking all of 2011 off. His first start against Seattle, (13th worst offense in the AL by OPS), was inauspicious. I can only imagine the emotions for Andy. Certainly it is unfair to expect him to be the Andy of old right away, but I think it was also reasonable to have concerns after watching that first start. Andy came back unbelievably strong in his second game against the Reds on Friday. He went 8 innings without allowing a run and struck out 9 against 1 walk. Cincinnati is not an offensive powerhouse by any means, but with Joey Votto and Jay Bruce in their lineup they are to be respected. Quite honestly I was surprised Andy pitched so well and that deep into the game (115 pitches). Those results don’t come easy in the Major Leagues, I don’t care who you are and who you’re facing, especially when you’re 1 month shy of your 40thbirthday. It just goes to show how good he really is and how dedicated he is to this comeback. I had the pleasure of working out with Andy for a few off-seasons when I lived in Houston, this couldn’t happen to a better guy.Pettitte wasn’t the only old timer making an impression this week:37 year old Kevin Millwood shutout the Rockies in Colorado. And 49 year old Jamie Moyer went 6 1/3 allowing 1 run while beating Arizona.Say what you want about Moyer, he’s gone at least 5 innings in every start and has a respectable 4.20 ERA while pitching in Colorado. He is a good enough 5th starter. In another potential great comeback storykeep an eye on old teammate and friend Scott Elarton. The former 17 game winner hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since 2008 and didn’t pitch at all in 2011. He’s currently 5-1 with a 2.06 ERA for the Phillies AAA affiliate. I’m not sure there is anything insightful that already hasn’t been said about Justin Verlander. This guy is off the charts talented. I love that after losing his no hitter in the 9th inning against the Pirates on Friday he was genuine about how he felt. He was angry, he knew he had it, he wanted it. It’s hard to pinpoint any of his strengths as the one thing he is great at, he’s great at a lot of things. But what impresses me most about this guy is the increase in velocity as the game goes on. It’s absurd to watch him hit 100mph in the 8th inning.