SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants closer Robb Nen is determined to save his career -- no matter how long it takes him to get healthy.
Nen rejoined his San Francisco teammates Wednesday after spending a month back home in Southern California to rest his troublesome throwing shoulder.
While Nen's shoulder isn't hurting, the Giants refuse to take a chance too soon and haven't established a new rehab program for the three-time All-Star. He will continue to take time off for now.
"Rest is the thing we're going to do now," said Nen, who has been watching games on TV, doing cardio workouts to stay in shape and "clearing my mind a little bit."
He will be evaluated by team doctors over the next few days, then trainer Stan Conte will determine Nen's next step. The pitcher said if he is unable to appear in a game this season, he's hopeful he could give it another shot in 2005 -- even if he has to earn a non-roster invitation to spring training with another club.
"I haven't ruled out anything," said the 34-year-old Nen, who is making more than $9 million this season. "Is a month long enough? If we've gone this far, do we go another week or two, a month, or a day or whatever it is? Everyone in this locker room would like to end it going out on their own terms, not being released, and say, 'OK, you know what, I've had enough.' ... I would definitely like to come back this year."
Before the Giants sent him home for a month in May, Nen had taken 10 days off but still felt pain while playing catch several times after the short break.
Nen, who had had 43 saves and a 2.20 ERA in 2002, is trying to recover from three shoulder operations that caused him to miss the entire 2003 season. He hasn't thrown off a mound since mid-April.
Nen's rotator cuff is torn -- perhaps as much as 75 percent -- but surgery to completely repair it has a very low success rate, Conte said.
If Nen is going to pitch again, he wants to be able to contribute at least a few times a week in relief.
His teammates are hopeful Nen will return.
"He looks good," reliever Scott Eyre said. "I'm glad he's here. I can go by and hug him instead of kissing his jersey."
The Giants hang Nen's No. 31 uniform in the clubhouse while on the road.
"It's good to see the guys and be around the team," Nen said.
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press
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