Beane might let Henderson sign retirement contract

Updated: September 22, 2005, 8:17 PM ET
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Oakland Athletics: General manager Billy Beane might let Rickey Henderson retire as an Athletic, the team he broke into the majors with in 1979, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

"Certainly I'd consider that,'' Beane told The Chronicle. "Rickey up to this point has never given anyone any indication that he's ready to retire, but if he was, depending on the circumstances, that could be possible.

"That's speaking as a GM and a former teammate, and someone who thinks Rickey is the greatest leadoff hitter of all time and probably the greatest Oakland A's player of all time.''

Henderson was at the Coliseum for the game Wednesday, but his agent, Jeff Borris said he hadn't talked to Beane recently about the retirement scenario.

"If Billy is willing to offer it and Rickey is ready to retire, I'd be happy to negotiate a one-day contract,'' Borris told the Chronicle. "But I don't know what Rickey's sentiments are on the topic. The last time I talked to Rickey, he said he'd like to be the leadoff hitter and starting outfielder for some team in the major leagues. I don't know if he's had a change of heart.''

Henderson played for the San Diego Surf Dawgs of the independent Golden Baseball League this summer.

Los Angeles Angels: Jarrod Washburn is scheduled to pitch Saturday, his first game since Sept. 10, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Washburn has been sidelined with an inflamed forearm but threw in the bullpen for 12 minutes Wednesday.

"I don't have time to get all the tendinitis out of there, but we knocked a good dent in it," Washburn told the paper. "I'll be fine to go for the rest of the season, for however long that lasts."

Bartolo Colon, who was slated to start Sunday, may be held back for the four-game series that begins Monday in Oakland, the Times reported.

St. Louis Cardinals: Larry Walker, who has a herniated disc in his neck, is expected to get a cortisone shot, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

His fourth injection could cause him to miss the weekend series in Milwaukee, but he'd be available against the Astros to close out the season.

"He's going to get these five days to get over it, then he'll hopefully be available for the entire home stand," manager Tony La Russa told the Post-Dispatch. "He's dealt with this before. We believe the timing is right to get it done now. This way he has time to get back and play some before the postseason."

New York Yankees: John Flaherty talks to the home plate umpires when Randy Johnson is pitching, counseling them to ignore the emotional lefty's temper, The New York Times reported.

"I tell them if I don't say anything, then I didn't think that they were strikes, either," Flaherty told the paper.

That spiel didn't work Friday, when Johnson was tossed by Fieldin Culbreth.

Johnson hasn't wanted to talk about the incident but explained he pitches the same all the time.

"It's not to say I won't get thrown out again," Johnson said. "I pitch with emotion. I did today."

Robinson: Clemente should be honored another way

Nationals manager Frank Robinson thinks Major League Baseball could find some way to honor Roberto Clemente other than retiring the late Hall of Famer's No. 21.

The Hispanics Across America advocacy group wants Clemente's number set aside the way Jackie Robinson's No. 42 was eight years ago.

Frank Robinson, also a Hall of Famer, was asked about the proposal before Washington's game against San Francisco on Thursday.

"Jackie Robinson was a very unique situation and historical. Clemente did an awful lot of good things and was a terrific ballplayer, but I don't think it's the same type of situation as Jackie Robinson," Frank Robinson said. "And if you do it for him, where do you go? Where do you stop? Then you neglect someone and create some big controversy."

Clemente, a 12-time All-Star who had 3,000 hits for the Pirates, died in 1972 at age 38 in a plane crash. He was taking relief supplies to victims of a Nicaraguan earthquake.

Baseball retired Jackie Robinson's number in 1997, the 50th anniversary of his debut as the first black player in the major leagues.

No other player has been honored that way.

"I think it might also take a little bit away from Jackie, what Jackie meant and what he did and what he accomplished, if you start doing that," Frank Robinson said. "I would just say leave it alone. Leave it alone. You could honor Clemente in some other significant way. Baseball could find some other way to do something very special."

Major League Baseball spokesman Rich Levin has said the sport has taken the effort to retire Clemente's number under advisement.

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