OAKLAND, Calif. — Ted Lilly would have loved to keep pitching — if his body would allow him to start every fifth day, and if he could stay off the disabled list.
Instead, the 37-year-old left-hander is retiring after 15 seasons because of continuing problems with his shoulder and back.
He went to winter ball in Venezuela this month with the hope his body would cooperate and he could find a major-league job. But Lilly didn’t feel right, and he made just one three-inning appearance during a 20-day stint in Valencia.
“It came to a point that, unfortunately, the reality set in where I was in terms of health and effectiveness,” Lilly said by phone Friday. “Those combinations are what forced me to retire. If I felt I could still be productive and healthy, I would be playing, for sure. As of today, I don’t think it’s reasonable. I didn’t believe I would be able to go out there and be productive and effective for a major-league team and stay healthy to make 30 starts.”
He returned home to California on Wednesday night, and said he looks forward to spending time with his wife and two young children.
A two-time All-Star, Lilly was 130-113 with a 4.14 ERA in parts of 15 major-league seasons. He pitched for Montreal, Oakland, Toronto, the New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Dodgers designated Lilly for assignment on July 25.
Late in the season, he saw a spine specialist in Los Angeles and underwent surgery to cauterize the nerve endings in the right side of his neck. He was limited to 13 starts the past two seasons for the Dodgers because of injuries, going 0-2 with a 5.09 ERA in five 2013 starts.
Vogelsong, Giants reach deal
SAN FRANCISCO — Right-handed pitcher Ryan Vogelsong is staying with the San Francisco Giants, agreeing Friday to a one-year contract.
Assistant general manager Bobby Evans said the deal is pending a physical, which is expected to happen next week.
The Giants declined to exercise Vogelsong’s $6.5 million contract option for 2014 on Nov. 4, but the parties agreed to keep open the possibility of negotiations down the road. General manager Brian Sabean and Evans have been committed to keeping their pitching staff intact as much as possible, which they have done while also adding right-hander Tim Hudson on a $23 million, two-year contract.
The 36-year-old Vogelsong is determined to come back strong in 2014 following a frustrating year.
He went 4-6 with a 5.73 ERA in 19 starts and 1032/3 innings during an injury-shortened 2013 season. He broke two bones in the right pinkie area of his pitching hand and also dislocated a knuckle on a swing May 20 and underwent surgery the next day. He had five pins inserted in his hand.
Vogelsong won 13 and 14 games the previous two seasons.