Former LCSC pitcher Keith Foulke retires from MLB
Cleveland's bullpen was a disaster last season, the difference between the Indians being competitive or not, and the hope of general manager Mark Shapiro was to create as many options for manager Eric Wedge going into the 2007 season.
But one of those alternatives already has evaporated, before Cleveland's first workout: Keith Foulke, signed to be a closer candidate after three seasons in Boston, has retired.
The news was first reported by ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney.
"While we are disappointed that Keith will not be pitching for the Indians this year, I have a tremendous amount of respect for him and the way he went about this decision," Shapiro said.
Club sources say that Foulke had felt pain in his elbow in recent days, and after going through injury-plagued seasons in 2005 and 2006, he decided to end his 10-year career.
Foulke always will be remembered for being the pitcher on the mound when the Red Sox ended their 86-year championship drought in the 2004 World Series. Foulke would have earned $5 million in base salary with the Indians this year, and as much as $2 million in incentives.
Now that Foulke is walking away, veteran reliever Joe Borowski is the clear favorite to open the season as the Cleveland closer. Interestingly, Borowski actually had a deal to sign with Philadelphia in the offseason but failed his physical with the Phillies, and settled for a one-year deal with the Indians.
Foulke went 3-1 with a 4.35 ERA but no saves in 44 games in 2006, and he missed two months with elbow tendinitis.
A stretch of 11 straight scoreless appearances in September gave the Indians hope he could fix their problems at closer. Foulke, who had 190 career saves, passed a physical with the club in January.
After saving 32 games during the 2004 regular season, Foulke went 1-0 with three saves and a 0.64 ERA in 11 postseason appearances. In Boston's sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series, Foulke closed all four wins.
Foulke also pitched for the San Francisco Giants, Chicago White Sox and Oakland Athletics. He was an All-Star in 2003 when he led the AL with 43 saves for the A's.