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Veteran Lilly confirms reports of retirement

Chronic neck pain makes calling it a career 'the realistic decision' for left-hander
MLB.com

LOS ANGELES -- Pitcher Ted Lilly confirmed earlier reports that he has retired as a player because of chronic neck pain.

Clarifying conflicting published comments in recent days, Lilly on Thursday wrote in a text message that he can no longer physically perform.

LOS ANGELES -- Pitcher Ted Lilly confirmed earlier reports that he has retired as a player because of chronic neck pain.

Clarifying conflicting published comments in recent days, Lilly on Thursday wrote in a text message that he can no longer physically perform.

"I am retiring," Lilly wrote. "I don't want to, but I think it is the realistic decision."

The 15-year Major League veteran recently had the nerve endings on the right side of his neck cauterized by a spine specialist. The procedure allowed Lilly to pitch in the Venezuelan Winter League, but the discomfort continued.

Lilly was limited to just five starts in 2013, while posting a 5.09 ERA over 23 innings. In total, Lilly played for six organizations -- including the Dodgers, Cubs, Yankees, Blue Jays, A's and Expos.

The 37-year-old Lilly, who was released by the Dodgers on Aug. 4, compiled a 130-113 record and 4.14 ERA in 331 career starts. He amassed 1,681 strikeouts, while walking 661 during his 1,982 2/3 innings at the big league level.

Lilly's best season came in 2007, when he went 15-8 while posting a 3.83 ERA in 34 starts for the Cubs. It was the first of what turned into back-to-back seasons with at least 200-plus innings and came immediately after he signed a lucrative free-agent contract.

The native of California was originally taken by the Dodgers in the 23rd round of the 1996 First-Year Player Draft. His original plan this offseason was to find a way back to the Majors.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. Cash Kruth and Gregor Chisholm also contributed to this story.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Ted Lilly