Catcher Lieberthal retires after 14 seasons in majors
LOS ANGELES -- Catcher Mike Lieberthal has decided to retire after a 14-year big league career with the Phillies and Dodgers.
"I'm done," Lieberthal said on Saturday. "I decided a couple weeks after the season ended. If [the Dodgers] had picked up my option, I probably would have played one more year. But I didn't want to go anywhere else."
The 36-year-old Lieberthal, who grew up in nearby Westlake Village, played his first 13 seasons with Philadelphia before signing with the Dodgers last winter. He hit .274 with 150 homers and played in two All-Star games.
The Dodgers declined the option they had on Lieberthal for the upcoming season. Lieberthal played in 38 games last season as a backup to Russell Martin, hitting .234 in 77 at-bats.
"There were a lot of reasons," Lieberthal said. "The money was great as a backup, but I have made [enough] money in baseball. I just didn't want to go through what I have to go through with my body to play 20-25 games a year. It's not worth it. I'm in a totally happy place."
After declining the option on Lieberthal, the Dodgers signed free-agent Gary Bennett to a one-year contract to back up Martin.
Lieberthal spoke before a charity celebrity soccer match at Home Depot Center in nearby Carson hosted by Dodgers infielder Nomar Garciaparra and his wife, soccer star Mia Hamm. Lieberthal had agreed to take part despite never having played soccer in his life.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press