Robin Ventura retired in a fashion fitting for the way he played and behaved during a fine 16-year career -- quietly, with dignity and little fanfare.

"I'm absolutely positive. I've realized that it's time to go, and that's it," Ventura said after the Los Angeles Dodgers lost to St. Louis, 6-2, on Sunday night, eliminating them from the NL playoffs.

Ventura, 37, played nine years with the Chicago White Sox, two with the New York Mets and 21/2 with the Yankees before finishing up with 11/2 seasons in Los Angeles -- less than 200 miles from where he grew up.

He leaves with a .267 batting average, 294 home runs and 1,182 RBI. He won six Gold Gloves at third base. . . .

Umpires Tim Welke and Randy Marsh were picked as crew chiefs for the League Championship Series and will start their respective Game 1's behind the plate.

Marsh, a 23-year veteran, will handle the ALCS. His crew will be Jeff Nelson, John Hirschbeck, Jim Joyce, Jeff Kellogg and Joe West.

Welke, in his 21st year, will work the NLCS with Eric Cooper, Gary Darling, Mike Winters, Angel Hernandez and Ed Rapuano. . . .

Cubs third base coach Wendell Kim, often criticized for being too aggressive in sending runners home, won't be back next year. Also, Gene Clines is replacing Gary Matthews as Cubs hitting coach, with Matthews taking Clines's old spot at first base.

-- From News Services

"I'm absolutely positive. I've realized that it's time to go," says Robin Ventura, who finished with 294 career homers.