Martinez abruptly decides to retire

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 10, 2004

The Associated Press

Edgar Martinez's prolific career is coming to an end, and Pat Burrell's season is already over.

John Gibbons, however, is off to a good start as manager of the Toronto Blue Jays.

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Martinez, a two-time AL batting champion, said Monday that he will retire at the end of the season, ending his 18-year career with the Seattle Mariners as one of baseball's greatest designated hitters.

''He's the best DH of all-time. Just a classy person. He's got Hall of Fame numbers,'' said Tampa Bay's Lou Piniella, who managed Martinez in Seattle. ''He's one of the best right-handed hitters I've ever seen. As he got older, he hit for more power, and that's pretty incredible.''

The Phillies must make do down the stretch without one of their most powerful hitters because Burrell will have season-ending wrist surgery Friday, another blow to Philadelphia's playoff hopes.

Burrell, injured in batting practice last Tuesday, is hitting .263 with 18 homers and 68 RBIs.

''It's terrible. The timing is awful,'' Burrell said. ''I can take a chance that it heals, but there's no guarantee. There's ligament and tendon damage. I wasn't anticipating anything serious.''

Philadelphia also is missing closer Billy Wagner, starting pitcher Kevin Millwood and top setup man Ryan Madson. Third baseman David Bell is day-to-day with back spasms, and right-hander Vicente Padilla is due to return from the disabled list Tuesday.

In New York, Toronto won in Gibbons' first game as manager, beating the Yankees 5-4 to stop a five-game losing streak.

Gibbons, who took over as interim manager when Carlos Tosca was fired Sunday, became the first visiting manager in 44 years to win his major league debut at Yankee Stadium. ''You can't pick a better place,'' Gibbons said.

Gabe Gross connected off Esteban Loaiza (9-6) for his first major league home run, and Josh Towers (7-4) took a shutout into the seventh inning.