Former major league closer Rod Beck found dead

Rod Beck, a colourful former relief pitcher who earned 286 saves in the major leagues, was found dead Saturday at his home in suburban Phoenix. He was 38.

Rod Beck, a colourful former relief pitcher who earned 286 saves in the major leagues, was found dead Saturday at his home in suburban Phoenix. He was 38.

Beck was found by police officers responding to a call at Beck's home, according to police department spokesman Andy Hill.

Foul play is not suspected, though the cause of death may not be known for several days.

With his bushy hair and jerky throwing motion, Beck was a memorable personality during his 13 big-league seasons, the first seven of which were spent with the San Francisco Giants.

A popular figure with teammates and fans, Beck struggled through personal problems late in his career. In 2004, he unexpectedly left the San Diego Padres for a two-month stay in drug rehabilitation.

"He was having some problems, and I just knew he went into rehab and joined us later that year," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy, the Padres' manager at the time. "It's so sad when you see healthy players go at such a young age. This is a bad day in baseball to lose a guy who did so much for the game."

Given the nickname "Shooter" during his time in baseball, Beck spent his career pitching for San Francisco (1991-97), the Chicago Cubs (1998-99) and the Boston Red Sox (1999-2001) before concluding with San Diego (2003-04).

Beck is survived by his wife, Stacey, and their two children.

With files from the Associated Press