TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Unhappy that he wasn't able to play up to his standards,
New York Yankees outfielder Tim Raines retired today.
"I guess we all have an alarm for when it's time for your career to end,
and I felt like my alarm went off two weeks ago," Raines said during a news
conference in the Yankees' dugout before an exhibition game against Boston.
Raines, fifth on the career steals list with 807, was with the Yankees this
spring as a non-roster player, partly to showcase himself after missing the
final 2½ months of last season because of Lupus.
After Darryl Strawberry was suspended for a positive cocaine test, it
appeared that Raines had a chance to make the Yankees as a part-time left
fielder/designated hitter. But manager Joe Torre told Raines during the past
week that was unlikely.
Raines, 39, hit .293 (7-for-24) in 10 games this spring but had only two
extra-base hits, a double and a home run.
"I don't know where he would have fit in numbers-wise," Torre said. "He
could have been a switch-hitter off the bench, but he's not a power
switch-hitter off the bench. I think he could have played and not embarrassed
himself this year. I think he didn't want to go anywhere. That probably made
his decision for him."
For now, the Yankees are comfortable using Ricky Ledee and Shane Spencer in
left field, and a combination of Ledee, Spencer and Jim Leyritz at designated
Roberto Kelly, also in camp on a minor league contract, was viewed ahead of
Raines as a backup outfielder.
During a stint with the Yankees from 1996-98, Raines won World Series rings
in his first and last seasons. He then signed with Oakland as a free agent
after the 1998 season, but went on the disabled list last July 19 with kidney
Less than a week later, he was diagnosed with Lupus, a connective tissue
disease in which the immune system turns against the body. The disease affects
the skin, joints, blood and kidneys.
Raines didn't want to be remembered for having a disease end his career.
"I felt like I accomplished what I sought out to do, which is to come back
and show I could still play the game," he said. "If I couldn't perform at a
certain level, I didn't think I deserved to be out there playing."
Raines, who made seven straight All-Star game appearances from 1981-87,
compiled a .295 career average in 21 seasons with Montreal, the Chicago White
Sox, Yankees and Oakland.
He finishes with 168 homers and 1,290 RBIs, and in steals trails only Rickey
Henderson (1,334), Lou Brock (938), Billy Hamilton (937) and Ty Cobb (892).
Raines swiped 70 or more bases in each of his first seven seasons. He hit a
career-low .215 last year with only four steals.
One of the reasons he wanted to come back was to play with his son, Tim Jr.,
who stole 49 bases last year for Baltimore's Class-A farm team at Delmarva.
Now, Raines intends to take this year off and watch minor league and high
school games. He hopes to return in management, possibly as a major league
coach - if Yankees owner George Steinbrenner wants him.
"Hopefully, George will have an opening for me somewhere down the line,"
Raines said. "I'm not sure in what capacity."