Angels reliever Scot Shields retires

Scot Shields retired Friday after a 10-year career with the Los Angeles Angels spent mostly as the primary setup man during the team’s period of dominance in the AL West.

The 35-year-old Shields was a free agent after two injury-plagued seasons. He retired as only the third player with at least 10 seasons to spend his entire career with the Angels.

”I am very thankful to have had the privilege and opportunity to play this great game at the major league level,” Shields said in a statement. ”My respect and thanks as well to all those who helped me along the way, especially (manager) Mike Scioscia, (pitching coach) Mike Butcher, (pitching coach) Buddy Black and the entire front office.”

Taken in the 38th round of the 1997 draft by Los Angeles, Shields established himself in the Angels bullpen in 2002, when they won their only World Series, appearing in Game 5.

Shields gave starting a try in 2003 but returned to the bullpen full-time in ’04, first setting up for Troy Percival then for Francisco Rodriguez as the Angels won five of six AL West titles. He was chosen the ”setup man of the decade” by Sports Illustrated for 2000-2009. In 2004, Shields and Rodriguez each had more than 100 strikeouts, becoming the first pair of relievers to do so since 1997.

”Scot was a huge part of our success over the course of his career here,” Scioscia said in the statement. ”He definitely understood the challenge of pitching late in games and in doing so, became the best setup man in baseball. He will always be part of our family.”

Shields finished 46-44 with a 3.18 ERA in 491 appearances – 15 starts. But he was limited to 20 games in 2009 and 43 last season because of injuries.

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