Pat Hentgen, disappointed by a string of bad outings, has decided to end his baseball career.
"I'm definitely relieved. It's been on my mind for over a month," said Hentgen, who told his Toronto Blue Jay teammates that he was retiring on Saturday.
"I'm glad I did it."
Hentgen was in his second stint with the Jays. His first tour of duty with Toronto began in 1991 and lasted until 1999. Hentgen's 107 wins are the fourth most by a pitcher in franchise history.
Hentgen won the 1996 Cy Young Award as the top pitcher in the American League, the first Blue Jay so honoured. He was also a key member of the Jays team that won the 1993 World Series.
"He had amazing intensity," said Jays slugger Carlos Delgado. "He's had a remarkable career, a Cy Young, two World Series and an All-Star."
Hentgen rejoined the Jays during the off-season. General manager J.P. Ricciardi was impressed with Hentgen's performance in the second half of last season and signed him to a free-agent contract.
Prior to that, Hentgen spent three seasons with the Baltimore Orioles and one year with the St. Louis Cardinals. In 2001, he underwent Tommy John [ligament transplant] surgery on his elbow .
Things didn't go so well the with the Jays the second time around. Hentgen has been hit hard this season and is 2-9 with a 6.95 earned-run average. Earlier this month he was demoted from the starting rotation to the Jays' bullpen.
"Coming back from Tommy John surgery my location was pretty good, and the results were pretty good, but for whatever reason this year I never really located the ball really well," Hentgen said.
"I tried to do everything I could as far as making adjustments on the mound, but it just wasn't there. My heart is telling me it's time.
"I'm just not helping the club the way I want to help the club."
Hentgen's last start was a 10-3 loss to the New York Yankees last Wednesday. Hentgen allowed eight runs in 2 2/3 innings.
Hentgen finishes his career with a 131-112 record.
"I always said when I played here that I'd like to retire as a Blue Jay, and lo and behold I did it," Hentgen said.
with files from Canadian Press