OAKLAND, Calif. -- Ted Lilly would have loved to keep pitching -- if his body would allow him to start every fifth day, and if he could stay off the disabled list.
Instead, the 37-year-old left-hander is retiring after 15 seasons because of further problems with his shoulder and back.
He went to winter ball in Venezuela this month with the hope his body would co-operate and he could find a major league job. But Lilly didn't feel right, and he made just one three-inning appearance during a 20-day stint in Valencia. He missed a start due to food poisoning.
"It came to a point that, unfortunately, the reality set in where I was in terms of health and effectiveness," Lilly said by phone Friday. "Those combinations are what forced me to retire. If I felt I could still be productive and healthy, I would be playing, for sure."
A two-time All-Star, Lilly was 130-113 with a 4.14 ERA in parts of 15 major league seasons. He pitched for Montreal, Oakland, Toronto, the New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers.