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Pitcher, Homosassa native Hampton retires

PHOENIX — Veteran left-hander Mike Hampton, a former Crystal River standout, retired Saturday, ending a 16-year big-league career after giving up on a bid to earn a roster spot with the Diamondbacks.

"I just knew it was time," Hampton, 38, said in a statement. "The fire is there and the passion will always be there, but physically it was just time to shut it down."

Hampton said his teenage sons seemed comfortable with his decision to spend more time with them. It was a little tougher to explain to his father, Mike Hampton Sr., who had seen his son escape obscurity in their hometown of Homosassa and enjoy a 16-year career.

"He was disappointed because he said, 'Man, I just thought you would play forever,' " Hampton said. "I wanted to. We just went back to a lot of the days of playing catch in the backyard and him coaching my Little League teams and high school teams and All-Star teams. There was a lot of effort that both of us put into it. So we just reminisced about that."

The oft-injured Hampton was 148-115 with a 4.06 ERA in 419 games, including 355 starts.

He began his career with the Mariners in 1993 and played for the Astros, Mets, Rockies, Braves and Diamondbacks. He led the National League with 22 wins in 1999 while with Houston.

But the two-time All-Star had just 10 wins in the past five seasons. He had elbow surgery in 2005 and 2007 and rotator cuff surgery in 2009.

BELTRAN TAKES FIELD: The Mets' Carlos Beltran played rightfield for five innings in a minor-league game, his first action in the field this spring as he overcomes tendinitis in his left knee. "I was able to go out for five innings and I didn't feel anything so I feel good about it," Beltran said.

In other Mets news, backup catcher Ronny Paulino was shut down because of concerns over the results of blood work done when he arrived at camp. General manager Sandy Alderson did not identify the concerns.

Also, leftfielder Jason Bay missed the game against the Braves with a stiff back.

ASTROS: Shortstop Clint Barmes has a broken left hand and is expected to miss four to six weeks.

BREWERS: Right-hander Zack Greinke played catch for the first time since being shut down with a fractured rib earlier this month. Manager Ron Roenicke told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the ace felt no pain.

CUBS: Right-hander Carlos Silva was told he will not be on the team's 25-man roster when the season starts Friday. General manager Jim Hendry said right-hander Andrew Cashner will be the club's fifth starter.

GIANTS: Closer Brian Wilson still isn't sure whether he'll be ready for opening day. The right-hander, out for a week with a strained muscle on his left side, played catch and intends to have a long toss session today.

RANGERS: Left-hander C.J. Wilson left his start after two innings as a precaution because of tightness in his left hamstring.Wilson went to the back fields and completed his work in a bullpen session. … Centerfielder Julio Borbon was scratched from the lineup with tightness in his left elbow.

Pitcher, Homosassa native Hampton retires 03/26/11 [Last modified: Saturday, March 26, 2011 9:12pm]
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