Former Belleville East High School and Southwestern Illinois College pitcher Randy Wells has retired, the Texas Rangers announced Tuesday.
Wells, who made 97 of his 98 major-league appearances with the Chicago Cubs -- the other was with the Toronto Blue Jays -- signed a minor-league deal with the Rangers in the offseason.
He made five starts at Class AAA Round Rock of the Pacific Coast League, where he was 0-4 with a 6.08 ERA in five starts and 23 2/3 innings. Wells walked 12 and struck out 20 and was touched for 32 hits. Opposing hitters were batting .317 against Wells.
Barring a comeback, the 30-year-old Wells will end his career with a 28-32 record and a 4.08 ERA.
Wells was a highly skilled defensive catcher when the Cubs selected him in the 38th round of the 2002 draft. Wells, however, made a conversion to pitcher in 2004 and was 10-2 with a 2.77 ERA for high-A Daytona of the Florida State League in 2005.
Wells went to the Blue Jays in the Rule 5 draft in 2007, but was returned to the Cubs when Toronto did not put Wells on its 25-man roster.
Wells was 10-4 with a 4.02 ERA at Class AAA Iowa in 2008, earning a promotion to the Cubs, for whom he made three relief appearances and was 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 4 1/3 innings.
Wells didn't make the Cubs big league roster out of spring training in 2009, but he was summoned from Iowa and made his first big-league start May 8 in Milwaukee, firing five shutout innings and permitting five hits.
He stuck with the Cubs the remainder of the season and finished 12-10 with a 3.05 ERA in 27 starts and 165 1/3 innings. He walked 46 and struck out 104.
Wells made a career-high 32 starts in 2010, but slumped to 8-14. He also recorded career-highs in innings (194 1/3 innings) and fanned a career-best 144.
Wells was then 7-6 with a 4.99 ERA in 2011 and failed to make the Cubs roster out of spring training in 2012. He was recalled in April and pitched out of the bullpen and in the rotation, but never could rediscover his 2009 form. He finished 1-2 with a 5.34 ERA in 12 games.
Two of Wells' most memorable performances of 2010 came against the St. Louis Cardinals.
On July 23 at Wrigley Field, he worked seven shutout innings and struck out seven as the Cubs beat the Cardinals 5-0. On Sept. 14 at Busch Stadium, Wells toiled eight innings and yielded just one run on five hits, walked none and fanned five as Chicago won 7-2.
Wells, who outdueled Adam Wainwright, was disappointed he couldn't pitch the distance in the Busch Stadium win. Then-Cubs manager Mike Quade turned to James Russell in the ninth.
"I understand. It was his call," Wells said to the News-Democrat after the game, during which he threw 101 pitches. "But it's something you dream about as a little kid. Usually, I was on the other side.
"Regardless, it would have been nice to pitch a complete game -- the first one of my career at this stadium. But I understand the reasoning. As much as it makes sense, it still leaves a little bitter taste in your mouth. That's just the competitive nature and the storybook thing it would have meant for me."
Wells also had an RBI single against Wainwright.
Wells' only two complete games came in 2011 --a two-hit shutout in a 7-0 win at San Francisco on Aug. 29 when he walked one and struck out seven, and an eight-inning complete game in a 3-2 loss to the Cardinals on Sept. 25 at Busch Stadium.
According to Baseball Reference, Wells earned slightly more than $4 million in his career.