Off-season Roster Moves Begin

The Cubs picked up options for 2B Todd Walker and RHP Scott Williamson through the 2006 season on Friday, while also declining an option for OF Jeromy Burnitz.

Walker has spent the last two seasons with the Cubs. As the starting second baseman in 2005, the 32 year old Walker batted .305 in 110 games. He finished second only to Derrek Lee in batting average for anyone on the full-season 25-man roster. He missed playing time with two separate knee injuries this past season.

The 29 year old Williamson appeared in 17 games (all in the second half) and allowed nine earned runs in 14 1/3 innings for a 5.65 ERA. The Cubs signed Burnitz to a one-year contract in February after officially announcing the trade of Sammy Sosa to Baltimore. At age 36, Burnitz played in 160 games and batted .258 with 24 home runs and 87 RBI.

The Cubs won 79 games in 2005 and finished fourth in the National League Central behind St. Louis, Houston and Milwaukee while missing the playoffs for the second consecutive season. Earlier this month, the Cubs announced they had retained their entire coaching staff through next season.

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