Health pushes Worrell to retire

Health pushes Worrell into retirement

SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants reliever Tim Worrell, who saved 38 games in 2003 after longtime closer Robb Nen was hurt but battled neck and shoulder injuries himself last year, has retired.

The 39-year-old right-hander still had another season left on his two-year pact with San Francisco, but said Wednesday it's time to spend more time with wife Misty and sons Kaleb, Austin, Tyler and Jordan.

"I have four sons in baseball to coach and my wife is expecting again," said Worrell, noting his right shoulder is sound following surgery last August, but his neck problems persisted, prompting the announcement.

"I'm trying to avoid neck surgery if possible, and whether a career lasts three years, five years or 20, you have to come to this point," said Worrell. "I feel I can't get myself back to [Major League] competition, and it wouldn't do me or the Giants any good to just hang on."

Over a 14-year career with eight different teams, Worrell logged a 48-59 record with 71 saves and a 3.97 ERA in 678 career appearances, including 49 starts.

His finest season with the Giants came in 2002 when he had a career-low 2.25 ERA over 80 games as a setup man, guiding the team to the National League pennant.

"Tim was a great Giant and played such a vital and versatile role in our bullpen over the years," said Giants general manager Brian Sabean. "It didn't matter when you put Timmy in a game, he always pitched with great confidence.

"He was integral in our success, helping us to the World Series in 2002 and winning the NL West in 2003. Unfortunately, he ran into some injuries last year. We wish Tim and his family the best in their future endeavors."

Worrell, younger brother of former Major League pitcher Todd Worrell, said it's possible he could become a big-league coach or consultant to keep his hand in the game and has made initial inquiries with the Giants and Phillies.

He pitched for San Francisco from 2001 to 2003 but returned to the club last year after a decent effort with Arizona, especially down the stretch. Worrell was 6-for-6 in saves at the onset, but persistent health problems cut his effectivess, and he landed on the disabled list in late May.

The nerve problem, which caused tingling and numbness, never abated after a brief reappearance.

Worrell, who was San Diego's 20th-round pick in the 1989 draft, also pitched for the Tigers, A's, Orioles, Cubs and Phillies.

Currently living in the Phoenix area, Worrell admitted Spring Training will be a tough time.

"I'll miss Opening Day, but right now I want to get more into my family," he said. "Still, I had a lot of stuff happen over 14 years and I feel I do have something to offer [teams]. Maybe just to talk and share my experiences."

Rich Draper is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.