Brian Giles says the pain in his arthritic right knee is getting worse, and the 39-year-old outfielder informed the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday that he will retire.
Giles is a career .291 hitter with 287 home runs and 1,078 RBI in 1,847 games. The two-time All-Star also played for the San Diego Padres, Pittsburgh Pirates and Cleveland, calling his trip to the World Series with the Indians in 1997 the highlight of his 15 major-league seasons. "That’s what you play for," Giles said of the championship series the Indians lost to the Florida Marlins. "I always talked to my brother (former major leaguer Marcus) about coming up, and our No. 1 goal was getting to the big leagues. Our No. 2 thing would be to win a world championship. Getting to experience the World Series was pretty special."
Giles, who signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers this winter with an invitation to major-league camp, hit a career-high 39 home runs for the Pirates in 1999 and returned the next season with a career-best 123 RBI for Pittsburgh.
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His deteriorating knee limited him to 61 games with the Padres last season.
Looking for left-handed options off the bench, the Dodgers brought aboard Giles. His departure leaves veterans Doug Mientkiewicz and Garret Anderson to help fill the role.
"We all came in with our eyes open to what the challenges would be and how difficult it would be, but we wanted to give him a chance so we would know and he would know," Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said.
Giles knew he was in for an uphill battle this spring. His right knee issues began in 2007, and he had microfracture surgery on the knee the following offseason.
"Obviously I want to play and feel I can play but physically I’m not able to do what I expect myself to do," Giles said. "I’m just thankful to Ned and the Dodgers organization for giving me the opportunity to come out and prove that I’m not up to par for myself."
Giles said he will head to his San Diego-area home Friday and figure out the next stage of his life. For now, he’s looking forward to spending time with his two daughters, ages 7 and 9.
As for getting into coaching one day, he said he will step back and take time to evaluate things.
"I’ve been doing this, including minor leagues, for 22-23 years now," Giles said. "What do I do now? I’ll try to get a really good tan. I’ll just hang out with my girls and figure it out, I guess. You really don’t know what to do. But I really have no regrets."