Dontrelle Willis, the N.L. Rookie of the Year in 2003, is retiring after a rocky stretch with Baltimore's top farm club.
Willis, an Alameda native, broke into the majors with the Marlins and quickly became one of baseball's most popular players. But the big left-hander has struggled since he won 22 games seven years ago and was second in the N.L. Cy Young Award voting.
"(It's) kind of sad in a way because of how good he was. I look at it from the game of baseball," manager Buck Showalter said before Baltimore faced Seattle on Monday. "We'll see what the future holds for him. I appreciate him giving it a shot with us."
The 30-year-old Willis had a 72-69 career record with a 4.17 ERA. He was also one of baseball's best hitting pitchers during his time in the majors, batting .244 with nine homers and 39 RBIs.
But over the last six season, Willis won just 26 games and had a 5.02 ERA for Florida, Detroit, Arizona and Cincinnati. His final appearance in the majors came Sept. 25, 2011, when he beat Pittsburgh 5-4 for his only victory of the 2011 season with the Reds.
Willis was cut by Philadelphia during spring training and later agreed to a minor league deal with the Orioles. He made just four appearances for Triple-A Norfolk, going 0-3 with an 8.53 ERA.
Cardinals: Lance Berkman expects to be back in the lineup soon after the All-Star break. Maybe even the first day back. The first baseman has been
"Yeah, it's possible," Berkman said Monday after joining the team to continue rehab from a right-knee injury. "It wouldn't shock me. I'm not banking on it, but at the same time I'm not ruling it out."
Padres: Commissioner Bud Selig welcomes the possible purchase of the San Diego Padres by the O'Malley family. The O'Malley family owned the Dodgers from 1950-98. Walter O'Malley moved the franchise from Brooklyn to Los Angeles after the 1957 season and eventually turned the team over to son Peter. Peter put together a group that was among the failed bidders for the Dodgers this year, when they sold for $2 billion.
Cy Young: Jim Palmer said he no longer needs trophies as mementos of his Hall of Fame career, so the former Baltimore Orioles ace has put his three Cy Young Awards and two of his four Gold Gloves up for auction.
"At this juncture of my life, I would rather concern myself with the education of my grandchildren," said Palmer, who currently works as a TV analyst for the Orioles. "I also have a stepson, (15-year-old) Spencer, who is autistic and will need special care for the rest of his life. My priorities have changed."
Yankees: Joba Chamberlain could soon pitch in a minor league game for the first time since injuring an ankle during spring training. The reliever said he is scheduled to throw in a simulated game Friday.
Mariners: Seattle has signed first-round draft pick catcher Mike Zunino, who was taken with the No. 3 overall selection in June's amateur draft. Zunino was considered the best college position player available in the draft.