Eric Gagne, at 34 years old and not far removed from being one of the best closers in baseball, told a Canadian website, RueFrontenac.com, that he has decided to retire.
Gagne was last seen pitching for the Dodgers -- the club he started his career with and was pretty much unhittable for from 2002-04 -- but after being signed to a Minor League contract in February, he was assigned to Minor League camp in mid-March.
This spring, the right-hander struggled, giving up six earned runs in 2 2/3 innings of Cactus League play (a 20.25 ERA). Although he accepted his Minor League assignment, Gagne said he opted to retire partly because he didn't want to block a young prospect from eventually living out his dreams in the Major Leagues.
The book on Gagne closes with a 33-26 record, a 3.47 ERA and 187 saves over 10 years in the big leagues.
His best stretch came in Los Angeles from 2002-04, when he combined to post a 1.79 ERA and collect 152 saves while making his three trips to the National League All-Star Game. Gagne won the NL Cy Young Award in 2003, posting a 1.20 ERA and leading the Majors with 55 saves.
But he had elbow surgery in 2005, followed by back surgery in '06, and bounced around, pitching for the Rangers, Red Sox, Brewers and in the CanAm League before the Dodgers gave him what ended up being his last shot.
Gagne, named on the Mitchell Report in 2007, told the Los Angeles Times in February that he used human-growth hormone during his best years.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.