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SPRING TRAINING Nen, Greer decide to hang 'em up



Published: Mon, February 21, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Both players were attempting to come back after numerous operations.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- Robb Nen and Rusty Greer decided they can't overcome injuries and are retiring from baseball.

The 35-year-old Nen, who had 43 saves and a 2.20 ERA in 2002 to help San Francisco reach the World Series, hasn't pitched in more than two years and has tried to overcome three operations on his right shoulder.

"He tried and got close again, and fell back down," San Francisco trainer Stan Conte said in Scottsdale on Sunday, a day after speaking to Nen about the decision. "It's been so frustrating. I'm surprised he lasted this long."

Nen, who has 314 saves in 10 seasons, played through the pain during the playoffs three years ago, knowing he needed surgery and that he was risking further damage.

"What he did to stay on the field in 2002, he jeopardized his career," Giants reliever Jason Christiansen said Sunday. "He put the team above himself. Everybody who was here in 2002 has so much respect for what he did. If it hadn't been for him, we wouldn't have gone to the World Series."

Greer's all-out, aggressive style made him a fan favorite during his nine playing seasons (1994-2002) with Texas, which included the team's only three AL West titles. It also led to the multiple injuries and operations.

Greer, who turned 36 last month, said he retired because he didn't know whether he could make it through another season physically. He also wanted to spend more time with his family.

"Rusty had a great career," Rangers manager Buck Showalter said at spring training in Surprise, Arizona. "He could really show his consistency over a 162-game season. He was a great competitor and did things the right way, on and off the field."

Prospect faces surgery

At Bradenton, Fla., catcher J.R. House, once considered the top prospect in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, faces season-ending surgery to repair tears in his right labrum and rotator cuff.

"It doesn't look good," House said Sunday.

"It's something that has been bothering me for a long time. I'm looking forward to getting it fixed and hopefully I can come back better than I was before."

House said he has multiple tears in his labrum and a 30-percent tear in his rotator cuff.

His agent, Dan Lozano, thinks surgery is inevitable and will be scheduled Tuesday or Wednesday.

"The doctors think he should be ready to play this winter and be 100-percent healthy for spring training next year," Lozano said.

The shoulder problems were detected when House took his physical before spring training. He will have a second opinion today when he meets with Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala.

Delgado arrives

At Jupiter, Florida, Carlos Delgado arrived for his first spring training with the Florida Marlins.

"This is more like the first day in a new school. It's a little awkward right now, but it's cool," the first baseman said.

"Obviously, I need to get a feel for what's going on here and learn my way around, but I'm pretty sure the bases are still going to be 90 feet apart, so I'll figure it out."

Difficult journey

In Surprise, the Rangers said utility infielder Manny Alexander isn't expected to be in camp by today's reporting date for position players. He is having visa problems in the Dominican Republic. Reliever Frankie Francisco remained sidelined Sunday with a sore elbow.

Tightening up

At Tempe, Arizona, the Angels said right-hander Kelvim Escobar won't throw from a mound for about 10 days because of tightness in his arm.

Large turnout

In Phoenix, nearly 30 members of the Japanese media showed up to watch new Oakland pitcher Keiichi Yabu during his first day of workouts with the Athletics. The pitcher's translator, Andy Painter, a former professor at a university in Japan, was on the field with Yabu to help the team give him instructions.




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