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Missing his girls, Izzy leaning toward retirement

Missing his girls, Izzy leaning toward retirement
ANAHEIM -- Angels reliever Jason Isringhausen puts his chances of retiring at 70-30, in favor of this, his 16th season, being his last one in the Major Leagues.

"But there's no telling what will happen once I get home," he said Wednesday. "I could be at 90-10. I like being home, man."

And for way too long, Isringhausen wasn't home enough. He was busy, living the rigorous life of a Major Leaguer for eight out of 12 months every year, on charter flights, in hotels and at ballparks all over the country.

But Isringhausen turned 40 in early September, is the victim of three Tommy John surgeries, has already reached the 300-save and 50-win milestones -- only 14 others have ever done that -- and now, down the stretch, he's hardly pitching, making just four appearances in September, none of much substance.

It all nudges Isringhausen in the direction of his two daughters, who are 10 and 3 years old and waiting for him back home.

"When I'm not pitching, that makes me miss them more," he said. "I want to be home and my role on the team is not definitive anymore, and I don't like that part. I want to have more fun, more pitching. But if I had pitched better down the stretch, I'd probably be pitching more now. Not too many teams need a 40-year-old who's throwing 90 [mph] when they have kids throwing 96."

Isringhausen stressed that he isn't upset about his role -- he understands he put himself in that predicament. But you know that old baseball saying, "You can't simulate the ninth inning"?

Isringhausen understands that now.

"That's part of baseball I enjoy is that adrenaline," he said. "I don't always get it pitching the fifth or sixth inning. It's not the same. I wasn't bred that way and I'm not wired that way."

Isringhausen hasn't been great for the Angels this year, with a 4.14 ERA for the season and a 5.74 mark since the All-Star break. But when you consider that he didn't even think he'd pitch this year, and the Angels didn't know what to expect when they signed him to a Minor League contract in Spring Training, the fact they've received 50 appearances from him is an accomplishment in itself.

"This year, I got through the whole year without being hurt, and so that was a big accomplishment for me at 40," said Isringhausen, who missed the last month of 2011 with the Mets because of a back injury. "I don't know what else I have to prove."

This offseason, Isringhausen will stay in shape, start throwing again in December, as usual, and keep the phone lines open in case a team in need of his services winds up on the other end. Isringhausen would consider coming back only to a team such as the Royals or Cardinals, near his Illinois home. The chances of that happening, Isringhausen admits, aren't great.

The chance this Angels season, however long it lasts, is his last in the Majors, seem better.

"I'll miss the competition," Isringhausen said. "That's the only thing I love about it now is the pitching part. I love being on the mound throwing against hitters that are the best in the world. That's the only thing I do love. I don't like all the travel, I don't like all the politics and everything that goes on with it. I love the guys, I love being in the clubhouse. But just the traveling gets old, and everything else."

Isringahusen talked about possibly being a high school or collegiate coach, or perhaps some sort of special instructor in the big leagues, when he hangs it up. It's a subject he has admittedly put off. But one thing Isringhausen is sure about: He has no ambitions of joining a Major League coaching staff.

That would defeat the purpose.

"If I do it, it'll be right close to home, where I can be home every night," he said. "I've had 20 years of being gone from home, and I want my next 20 to be at home."

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