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Ben Sheets to retire after Wednesday

Righty will make final outing in Braves' season finale at Pittsburgh
10/02/2012 5:10 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro
Atlanta right-hander Ben Sheets will retire from baseball following Wednesday’s start, according to Braves beat writer Mark Bowman.

On Tuesday afternoon, Bowman, who covers the Braves for MLB.com, Tweeted the following:

“Tomorrow will be Ben Sheets' last career appearance. He said he will not ever pitch again. This was an inspiring comeback by a great guy.”

The tenth overall pick of the 1998 MLB Draft, Sheets, now 34, won 86 games and was a four-time All-Star with Milwaukee from 2001-08 before an arm injury ended up sidelining his career.

On the brink of free agency, the righty underwent Tommy John surgery in late-2008 to repair a torn flexor tendon in his right elbow, and he missed all of 2009. Sheets returned in 2010, signing a one-year deal with Oakland, but he made just 20 starts – going 4-9 with a 4.53 ERA – before again tearing a flexor tendon; he went on the disabled list on July 29 of that year, and ended up being out of baseball for nearly two full calendar years.

The Braves signed Sheets to a Minor League contract on July 1, and he was called up on July 12 after pitching 10.2 innings at Double-A Mississippi. He went 4-4 with a 3.54 ERA in eight starts for Atlanta, but after lasting just 4.1 innings in an August 24 start against San Francisco, Sheets landed on the disabled list the next day with what the team termed right shoulder inflammation.

Sheets was activated on Sept. 15 to serve as a bullpen arm down the stretch for the playoff-bound Braves, but had not made an appearance as of Monday. Heading into Wednesday’s swan song, Sheets holds that 4-4, 3.54 mark in 48.1 innings this season, and is 94-96 with a 3.78 ERA in 249 career starts.

The Braves will conclude their regular season against the Pirates, playing their finale at PNC Park in Pittsburgh at 12:35 p.m. Wednesday. Sheets’ opponent will be former Yankee A.J. Burnett, who is 16-9 with a 3.43 ERA and 177 strikeouts in 30 starts this season.

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