Foulke closes his career before a game with Tribe

Associated Press
Washington trainer Lee Kuntz (right) works out players during spring training Friday. The Nationals are without star first baseman Nick Johnson.

Before he got a chance to finish another game, Keith Foulke closed his career.


Foulke, whose toss to first base for the final out ended an 86-year World Series title drought for the Boston Red Sox, retired Friday just as he was about to begin a two-man competition with Joe Borowski to be Cleveland's closer.

"Over the last few weeks, while preparing for the 2007 season, my body has not responded as it has in years past," Foulke said in a statement. "I feel strongly I will not be able to perform at the level where I need to be to help the Indians this season."

The Indians, whose slide from 93 wins in 2005 to 78 wins and a fourth-place finish last season was tied to a dreadful bullpen, signed Foulke to a one-year, $5 million contract in January.

The club would have had to honor that deal if Foulke had reported to camp and then retired. His retirement means Borowski, signed in December to a $4.25 million, one-year deal, will begin the season as the Indians' closer.

Foulke, who went 41-34 with 3.30 ERA in 588 career appearances, also pitched for San Francisco, the Chicago White Sox and Oakland. He was an All-Star in 2003 when he led the AL with 43 saves for the Athletics.

RED SOX: Boston and outfielder Wily Mo Pena reached agreement on a one-year contract shortly before they were to go to arbitration.

Details of the one-year deal were not announced. Pena, who earned $1.25 million last year, asked for $2.2 million while the team offered $1,725,000. The agreement avoided an arbitration hearing scheduled for Friday in Phoenix.

Nationals: First baseman Nick Johnson, whose 2006 season ended in September with a broken right leg, still isn't sure when he'll be able to play again.

Johnson arrived at spring training Friday. Asked what he thought the best-case scenario is for his return, Johnson said it might be June.

"Everything's so weak in my right leg - my hip, my quad, everything," he said.

BLUE JAYS: A year after an elbow injury hampered his debut, right-hander A.J. Burnett's main goal this spring is to remain healthy.

"I will take a little more time this spring and start the year healthy, that's my goal," Burnett said. "I've been on the mound once opposed to a handful of times."

Burnett, who signed a five-year, $55-million contract with Toronto in December of 2005, began his first season on the disabled list after injuring his right elbow during spring training.

He joined the team for two April starts before spending another two months on the disabled list with soreness in his elbow.

ORIOLES: Baltimore pitcher Jose Acevedo broke four ribs and his collarbone Friday in a motorcycle accident and is expected to miss the entire season, his Dominican winter league team said.

Acevedo was conscious and in intensive care Friday, Aguilas Cibaenas executive Luichy Sanchez told The Associated Press.

A non-roster invite to Orioles spring training, Acevedo crashed his motorcycle into a car early Friday in Santiago. Aguilas Cibaenas officials did not know if the car was in motion.

REDS: Former pitcher and broadcaster Joe Nuxhall has been hospitalized in Florida for tests for a recurrence of lymphoma, his son said Friday.

The 78-year-old Nuxhall was in Sarasota for the start of the team's spring training when he went to Sarasota Memorial Hospital on Wednesday for previously scheduled tests, son Kim Nuxhall said. That's when doctors found the recurrence of lymphoma, first detected in September 2003.

YANKEES: George Steinbrenner's son-in-law and designated successor to run the team was scheduled to appear in court March 15 to face charges of driving under the influence.

Yankees general partner Steve Swindal was arrested by St. Petersburg police at 4:26 a.m. Thursday, according to the charge report. He was booked for a misdemeanor and released from jail after posting $250 bond.

METS: New York claimed right-hander Marcos Carvajal off waivers from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

The 22-year-old was 2-2 with a 3.86 ERA in 38 games last season.


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