'Game Over' is Indeed Over With Dodgers

Closer Eric Gagné, who electrified Dodger Stadium crowds and earned the title ;Game Over, has asked for his release and it was granted just six days after he vowed to return to the minor leagues and be ready later in the season if the Dodgers needed him.

"Both sides thought at this juncture it was in Eric's best interest to see if he can find another opportunity, rather than wait until later in spring or into April if he wants to continue to pitch," said general manager Ned Colletti. "It's better that he has a couple weeks to go."

Gagné, 34, had accepted a Minor League assignment earlier this month, acknowledging that he needed more work to bring his game back to the Major League level after two years of shoulder problems that included spending last year in independent ball.

Gagné signed a Minor League contract just before Spring Training for a $500,000 base salary. But over three outings he allowing six runs on eight hits in 2.2 innings for a 20.25 ERA. He pitched in one Minor League intrasquad game after his demotion.

Gagné, 34, holds the career record save record and the top three spots on the single season list and was a Cy Young winner in 2003. He converted an all-time record of 84 consecutive save conversions.

But his career started to flame out after elbow surgery in 2005, plus another elbow operation and back surgery in 2006, and he left the Dodgers as a free agent. In 2007, Gagné was linked to performance-enhancing drug use when named in the Mitchell Report.

Gagné made brief stops in Texas, Boston and Milwaukee after leaving Los Angeles. After pitching for the Brewers in 2008, he was released during Spring Training of 2009 with a slight tear in his rotator cuff that he rehabbed without surgery.

He pitched for the Quebec Capitales of the independent Can-Am League as a starting pitcher/coach last season, going 6-6 with a 4.65 ERA and 64 strikeouts in 102 2/3 innings.

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