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Astros’ Fernandez Retires After 14 Years, 114 Wins

Associated Press

Pitcher Sid Fernandez, whose greatest success came during the 1980s with the New York Mets, announced his retirement Friday after 14 years in the major leagues.

Fernandez, 34, called it quits after a comeback this year with the Houston Astros fizzled because of an arthritic condition in his left elbow. He had suffered a variety of injuries since 1991 when he missed four months after breaking a bone in his left wrist during a spring training game.

“It goes so fast,” Fernandez said as the Astros prepared for Friday night’s game against his former team, the Mets. “You think you’re just starting in the big leagues and it’s 1984. It seems like 1984 was yesterday and now it’s all over.”

The hard-throwing left-hander finishes with a 114-96 record and 1,743 strikeouts in 307 games with the Dodgers, Mets, Orioles, Phillies and Astros.

“I always said when it comes time, when I can’t help someone, I’ll quit,” Fernandez said. “I gave it one more shot because I felt I could help this team and when I saw that I couldn’t it’s time to retire.”

Fernandez signed with Houston this year after going 3-6 in 11 games with Philadelphia in 1996, when left elbow problems resulted in September surgery.

His only start this year came April 5 against St. Louis when he worked five innings in a 6-2 Houston victory.

Fernandez was selected by the Dodgers in the June 1981 amateur draft and made a brief major league debut with Los Angeles two years later. A trade brought him to the Mets in December 1983.

After consecutive .500 seasons, he went 16-6 with a 3.52 ERA and 200 strikeouts in 32 games in 1986 as the Mets won the World Series. He went 12-8 in 1987, 12-10 in 1988 and 14-5 in 1989.

GMs were busy bunch

As expected, Mark McGwire was traded. Unexpectedly, Albert Belle was discussed.

It was a busy day in baseball right up until the midnight EDT trading deadline Thursday. There were seven deals in all.

Trades are allowed the rest of the regular season, but players must now pass through waivers, making some deals tricky to complete.

Even so, maybe that means Belle will find a new address. The Chicago White Sox and the New York Yankees reportedly talked Thursday about the $55 million slugger, although White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf said he refused the Yankees’ offer to discuss trading Belle.

A lot of players are still available. Rickey Henderson of San Diego could be among them. Pitchers Terry Mulholland, Mel Rojas and Turk Wendell of the Chicago Cubs can be had. Same goes for starters Dave Burba and Pete Schourek of Cincinnati. Aaron Sele of Boston is also on the trading block.

Irabu dazzles in AAA

With Yankees owner George Steinbrenner looking on, Hideki Irabu proved again he’s got major league stuff when facing minor-league hitters.

In his second stint with Columbus, the Yankees’ Class AAA affiliate, Irabu threw shutout ball for seven innings in the Clippers’ 7-0 victory over Rochester.

Irabu threw 90 pitches, striking out four and walking one while giving up three hits. Rochester managed only one fly ball to the outfield before Irabu left the game. His fastball was clocked at 96 mph eight times.

Big Cat forced to sit

Andres Galarraga of Colorado had his three-game suspension upheld by N.L. president Leonard Coleman.

Galarraga will miss Sunday’s game in Pittsburgh as well as games the Rockies will play in Philadelphia on Monday and Tuesday.

Galarraga charged the mound after he was hit on the elbow by a pitch by Dennis Cook of the Florida Marlins on May 31.

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