Gagne signs with Can-Am team
Former Cy Young Award winner Eric Gagne has signed with the Quebec Capitales of the independent Can-Am League.
Gagne, a Montreal native, will be used as a starter, according to media reports.
"When he's able to pitch we'll have a decision to make regarding our veterans. He wants to come to Quebec instead of starting at the bottom in the farm clubs," club director Michel Laplante said, according to the Toronto Sun.
"It's too early to gauge the impact of his arrival on turnout at the stadium, but let's just say it's a big score for the team [and] for the league as well," team owner Miles Wolff said, according to the Sun.
Gagne appeared in 50 games for the Milwaukee Brewers last season, saving 10 games and blowing seven save opportunities. He was released this spring.
In a conference call Wednesday. Gagne said he hopes to return to the majors this season.
"I'm not putting pressure on myself to come back in two weeks or one month or whatever," he said, according to the Los Angeles Times. "Hopefully, I can come back to the major leagues sooner rather than later. ... Right now, I'm not looking at that. I'm looking to get healthy."
Gagne's name appeared in the Mitchell report on performance-enhancing drugs in baseball, in which it was alleged he had received human growth hormone from former Mets clubhouse attendant Kirk Radomski in 2004. Gagne declined to meet with Mitchell during his investigation.
When he reported to spring training in 2008, Gagne apologized to his family, fans and Brewers teammates for "a distraction that shouldn't be taking place," but did not specifically address the allegations in the report.
Gagne, who won the 2003 NL Cy Young Award with 55 saves, converted 152 of 158 save opportunities between 2002 and 2004 for the Los Angeles Dodgers, posting a 1.79 ERA and averaging 13.3 strikeouts per nine innings during that stretch. He converted all 55 save opportunities in 2004.
In 2005, Gagne underwent Tommy John surgery to repair ligament damage in his right arm. He appeared in only two games in 2006 and was released by the Dodgers.
Gagne said he would welcome a return to the Dodgers and still follows the team closely, the Times reported. "It's the first score I look at," he said. "It's unbelievable how they're playing. I didn't expect that while Manny [Ramirez] is gone."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.