Cubs' Piniella retires earlier than planned

Lou Piniella, the Chicago Cubs manager, announces that he was retiring after Chicago's game against the Atlanta Braves so he could spend more time with his family.

CHICAGO // Lou Piniella, the Chicago Cubs manager, announced yesterday that he was retiring after Chicago's game against the Atlanta Braves so he could spend more time with his family. Piniella, 66, made the announcement in a release handed out by the team. Mike Quade, the third base coach, was made interim manager. Piniella said last month he planned to retire at the end of the season and reiterated his plans on Saturday. But he missed four games in August to be with his ailing mother in Florida and it appears he wanted to spend more time with her.

"I need to be home," Piniella said. "My circumstances have changed a heck of a lot the last year, especially the last month or so. I just need to be home. "I'm concerned about my mom. I love baseball but I love my family. When you talk about your family, it's a little more important than baseball. It's a lot more important." Entering yesterday's game, Piniella's overall record was 1,835-1,712 (a .517 winning percentage). He trails only Tony La Russa, Bobby Cox and Joe Torre in wins among active managers.

Piniella's record with the Cubs was 316-292, and at Chicago he won consecutive National League Central titles in 2007/08, but missed the play-offs last year and has struggled again this season with a new owner in charge. In 18 years in the major leagues as a player and another 22 as a manager, Piniella made five trips to the World Series and has three championship rings. Piniella began managing in 1986 with the Yankees and lasted three years. He managed the Reds from 1990 to 1992, leading them to a World Series championship in his first season. He also got national attention during his time there for a clubhouse wrestling match with Rob Dibble, a relief pitcher.

After Cincinnati, Piniella had a long run in Seattle, where his teams won at least 90 games four times and 116 in 2001. The three-time Manager of the Year also spent three seasons with Tampa Bay. * Associated Press