Hoffman retires after 18 seasons

Associated PressJanuary 13, 2011 

Standing at home plate in empty Petco Park, baseball's all-time saves leader Trevor Hoffman announced his retirement at age 43 after 18 seasons in the major leagues.

Hoffman said he wanted to take time after last season to decide on his future and that he's ready to move on to a job in the front office with the San Diego Padres, the team he became a star with.

Hoffman said he realizes "how thankful I was to be able to put a uniform on and be a kid until I was 43."

He had 601 saves, 552 of them in 151/2 seasons with the Padres. He also pitched for the Florida Marlins and Milwaukee Brewers.

Hamilton improving in hospital: American League MVP Josh Hamilton remained in an Arlington, Texas, hospital on Wednesday while showing signs of getting better in a bout with pneumonia.

The Texas Rangers said Hamilton is expected to be released by the weekend and should be able to resume his conditioning and baseball activities within a few days after his release.

Hamilton was diagnosed Monday with an early case of pneumonia.

Deals: Ryan Raburn, 29, and the Detroit Tigers have agreed to a $3.4 million, two-year contract. The outfielder hit .280 last season with 15 homers.

Catcher Koyie Hill, 31, and the Chicago Cubs have agreed to an $850,000, one-year contract, avoiding arbitration.

Player suspended: Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Alfredo Marte has been suspended for 50 games for a positive test under baseball's minor league drug program. Marte tested positive for metabolites of Stanozolol, the commissioner's office. Marte is on the roster of Triple-A Reno.

Odesnik wins in return

Wayne Odesnik won in his first tournament match since serving a one-year suspension for possessing human growth hormone, which was found in his baggage by customs officers in Australia.

The former top-100 tennis player began a career comeback Wednesday in Plantation, Fla., on the Futures circuit, the lowest rung of U.S. Tennis Association professional events.

Playing in the Plantation Open, Odesnik beat Teodor-Dacian Craciun of Romania 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 to earn his first ranking point. It's an important point, making Odesnik eligible for qualifying tournaments at the more lucrative Challenger level.

Sydney International: 2005 U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro's comeback from injury briefly stalled with a 6-2, 7-5 loss to Germany's unseeded Florian Mayer in the second round.

Kooyong Classic: At Melbourne, Australia, Lleyton Hewitt upset Russia's Mikhail Youzhny 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 in the exhibition to gain momentum ahead of the Australian Open, which starts Monday.

Heineken Open: At Auckland, New Zealand, top-seeded Spaniards David Ferrer and Nicolas Almagro opened their 2011 campaigns with hard-fought wins.

Ferrer, the world No. 7 and top seed, took more than 21/2 hours to beat Tobias Kamke of Germany 3-6, 7-6 (1), 6-4, and Almagro, ranked 14 and the No. 2 seed, was tested in beating 52nd-ranked Victor Hanescu of Romania 6-4, 7-6 (2) in 93 minutes.

IndyCar legends visit troops

Mario Andretti, Larry Foyt and Al Unser Jr. headline a list of former IndyCar drivers making a goodwill tour of overseas military installations as part of the Indianapolis 500 Centennial Tour.

The nine-person crew will land today at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany and will entertain troops in the Middle East and on an aircraft carrier, too.

Ronaldinho welcomed by 20,000: In Rio de Janeiro, about 20,000 fans showed up for Ronaldinho's official introduction with Brazilian soccer club Flamengo.

Softball stars off U.S. team: Jessica Mendoza, a two-time Olympic medalist, and seven of her teammates from the 2008 Beijing Games, will not play for U.S. softball team this year, opting to play professionally instead in the four-team National Pro Fastpitch league in hopes of growing a sport dropped from the Olympic program.

Racing museum trims deficit

The NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte narrowed its loss for November, with a deficit of $100,801 for the month because of aggressive cost-cutting.

Attendance for the month was 18,585, including 2,000 the day after Thanksgiving. That was the second-smallest monthly crowd since the city-owned hall opened in May.

The hall had $602,550 in revenue compared with $703,351 in expenses for the month. The hall had been spending $800,000 to $850,000 monthly. The loss for the first five months of fiscal year is $509,703. The hall had budgeted a $1.1 million surplus.

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