Report Says Ex-Dodger Gagné to Retire

The French-Canadian website reports that Eric Gagné, the greatest closer in Dodgers history, has decided to retire. He was invited to spring training as a non-roster player but it was apparent that his arm strength had not returned and he was hit hard. reported the story, citing the French-language site's interview with Gagné, who lives in Phoenix area but is originally from Montreal.

Gagné pitched for the Quebec Capitals in the independent Can-Am League last season and signed a minor league contract with the Dodgers in February and came to big-league spring training, where he told the Los Angeles Times that he had used human growth hormone.

He made a few Cactus League appearances, but did not display his once-remarkable talents. He at first agreed to go to minor league camp and try to work his way back to that level, but at Gagné's request, released him on March 22. 

He didn't make it official that his career was over until he told

Gagné won the National League Cy Young Award as the Dodgers' closer in 2003, only the second time a Dodgers reliever was awarded such an honor, with Mike Marshall taking the title in 1974.

For three seasons he was the best stopper in Major League Baseball, recording 52, 55 and 45 saves from 2003 to 2005 before suffering arm troubles. He had surgery in both 2005 and 2006.

His final appearance was on June 6, 2006 when he nailed down a win over the Mets. He reported stiffness in his arm before the game but afterward he was shut down for treatment. He never came back.

Traded to Texas in 2007 he pitched well and was traded to Boston where the wheels fell off in 2008. In 2009 he was pitching in a Canadian Independent League.

He worked out for both the Dodgers and Colorado and the Rockies offered him a contract before he signed with Los Angeles.

He said has been rebuilding his shoulder muscles with martial arts-based workings in Arizona along with pitchers Shawn Estes, Jeff Fassero and Dodgers catcher Russell Martin.

Gagné, who will be 34 this year, reported is he is in better condition and his arm is "the best it's felt in three or four years, easy."

Dodgers assistant GM Logan White watched Gagné during a throwing session near the pitcher's Arizona home before he signed.

Gagné's name appeared in the December 2007 Mitchell report, which offered evidence that he had used human growth hormone. Although Gagné apologized to his Brewers teammates the following spring for "a distraction that shouldn't be taking place," he has not talked specifically about the allegations of performance-enhancing drug use.

"I'm not denying it," Gagné told The Los Angeles Times in July. "I'm not saying I did. I just can't talk about it. It's a touchy subject. It doesn't just involve me."

Gagné finishes his career with a 33-26 record, a 3.47 ERA and 187 saves in 10 major league seasons. He began his career as a starter for the Dodgers, but didn't see much success until he found his niche as a closer in 2002.

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