7/31 Theriot says goodbye

Ryan Theriot thought he’d be a Cubs player for life.

“You never want to go,” Theriot said Saturday. “In the same breath, it’s exciting. I’m going to a place that has a wonderful tradition and is obviously all about winning.”

Theriot was dealt with Ted Lilly to the Dodgers on Saturday in exchange for Blake DeWitt and two Minor League pitchers. He stopped by Coors Field to pick up his gear and say goodbye to his teammates.

Dodgers manager Joe Torre called Theriot Saturday morning.

“He said, I could be No. 99 if I wanted to,” Theriot said. “He was very excited and just congratulated me and welcomed me. I thought that was very cool, especially coming from a man of his stature. We talked for a few minutes. He said, ‘I want you to get here as soon as you can.’ It makes you feel good when you get a call from a guy like that.”

He was selected in the third round of the 2001 Draft by the Cubs and thought he’d stay in the organization his entire career.

“It was wishful thinking,” Theriot said. “I guess things happen. It’s a business. Everything can change in a heartbeat but everything happens for a reason. This is something I’m excited about.”

He’d started getting word Friday from “credible sources” that a deal was possible. Theriot was batting .284 and was 5-for-14 on this road trip. Did the move from short to second in early May affect him?

“I don’t think it was the move as much as the way the season played out,” he said. “Obviously, we’re not where we want to be. The Cubs are a proud organization and one that’s set up to win. Nobody was happy with what happened. That stuff all rolls downhill and affects people in different ways.”

Theriot helped Starlin Castro adjust to the big leagues.

“That’s what you’re supposed to do,” Theriot said. “This game has been around for a long time and you help your teammates. Anybody would’ve done the same thing.”

Now that he’s leaving, how does he feel about the Cubs’ curse?

“No, I don’t [believe in it],” he said. “I think when the streak is broken, it will be broken many times in a row. Guys come in and play hard and just hope for the best. It has been a long time, though. I don’t believe in curses or anything, but yeah, it has been a long time.”

— Carrie Muskat

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