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Left-hander Richard opts for free agency

Padres' two-time 14-game winner eyes Major League opportunity elsewhere

SAN DIEGO -- Pitcher Clayton Richard, who made 107 starts over the last five years with the Padres, has elected free agency after clearing outright waivers.

Richard, who won 14 games in 2010 and again in 2012, could have either gone to the Minor Leagues or opted for free agency, meaning he will seek a big league deal elsewhere.

The left-hander was 2-5 with a 7.01 ERA in 11 starts with the Padres in 2013, a season that was marred by two stints on the disabled list.

Richard first missed time in May with an intestinal virus and was later placed on the DL after sustaining a shoulder strain in June that eventually led to surgery on the AC joint in his left shoulder.

Richard was 40-39 with a 4.16 ERA in 108 games for the Padres, including 107 starts. He was named the Padres' Pitcher of the Year in 2012 after going 14-14 with a 3.99 ERA in 33 starts and a career-high 218 2/3 innings.

Richard was obtained from the White Sox on July 31, 2009, as part of a deal that saw the Padres trade 2007 National League Cy Young winner Jake Peavy. The Padres obtained four players in that deal, but Richard was the last of those four still with the organization.

In the 2010 season, the Padres missed the postseason by one victory. Richard made all 33 starts in 2010 and 2012 and surpassed the 200-innings mark in each season.

He was 21-18 with a 2.99 ERA and allowed 25 home runs in 310 1/3 innings at Petco Park and 19-21 with a 5.27 ERA and 50 home runs allowed in 326 road innings during his time with the Padres.

Corey Brock is a reporter for Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter.
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