Edmonds mulls retirement after season

Edmonds mulls retirement after season

CINCINNATI -- Outfielder Jim Edmonds pulled up his shirt and showed off a big, blueberry-colored blotch above his right hip. It might mark the 44-year-old's final injury as a Major Leaguer. 

Edmonds was placed on the 15-day disabled list by the Reds last week with a strained oblique and will miss at least three weeks. Even if he makes a late-September or October return for first-place Cincinnati, he will probably retire at the end of the season, his 17th in the Majors. 

At the moment, Edmonds is a lifetime .284 hitter with 391 home runs and 1,197 RBIs. He won eight Gold Glove Awards, made four All-Star teams, played in two World Series and won a championship with St. Louis in 2006.

"I'm leaning toward shutting it down and being a family man again," Edmonds said. "My wife and kids have had enough right now. They're struggling a little bit with it. I try not to talk too much about it, because I never thought these issues would come up in your life. When you're a young player, this is your life. As you get older, your priorities change.

"I've made my mark," he said. "I've done as much as I can possibly do as an everyday player. Even though I'd like to still go out there and prove I can do it, being hurt is not making it any easier."

It's a tough way to finish an otherwise inspired season for Edmonds, who did not play at all in 2009. He took a non-roster contract with the Brewers and won a job in Spring Training, and went on to bat .272 with nine home runs and 21 RBIs in 239 at-bats. The Brewers traded him to the Reds on Aug. 9 for another left-handed-hitting outfielder, Chris Dickerson.

Edmonds was pleased to join a pennant race but said part of him misses Milwaukee. Brewers general manager Doug Melvin, who often has a tough time luring free agents, might want to hire Edmonds as a recruiter if he indeed hangs up his spikes.

"The transition [to a new team] has been tough," Edmonds said. "It's kind of hard to explain, but it's never easy when you leave a group of guys who you spent four or five months with every day. I have some great friendships over there. I had a blast over there, from the front office staff to the coaches to all of the players. The fans are great. It's a great place to play as far as the stadium. There are no real drawbacks to playing there. It was probably the best part of my year."

He added: "It's great to be in first place, but it's tough to leave your family."

It might have been easier minus all of the nagging injuries. Edmonds dealt with oblique, back and Achilles strains during his brief Milwaukee tenure and said he walked into manager Ken Macha's office at Wrigley Field in early August and said he wanted to quit. Macha talked him out of it. 

At the time, a stiff right Achilles was giving Edmonds particular trouble -- he couldn't even trot to his position in the outfield without severe pain. But he was nonetheless in a terrific hit streak, with a .529 batting average and four home runs in his seven games before Chicago.

"I said, 'You need to put me on the DL, you can send me home. I just can't do it anymore,'" Edmonds said. "He said, 'Are you crazy? I'm not putting you on the DL. You're my best player.'

"It was the only thing that kept me going." Edmonds said. 

The Reds reviewed Edmonds' medical file before acquiring him. Edmonds has played nine games for the Reds while going 3-for-22. Dickerson has played in 10 games and is 10-for-33 at the plate, and will certainly be in the mix for a roster spot with Milwaukee next season.

By that time, Edmonds might be at home for good.

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.