'No regrets': Giles calls it a career
Balky knee stops outfielder's comeback try with Dodgers
SURPRISE, Ariz. --- Brian Giles' right knee didn't feel right, so the veteran outfielder did what felt right.Giles, 39, announced his retirement Thursday morning, a month after having signed a Minor League contract with the Dodgers in hopes of resuscitating an All-Star career. "I knew this coming in, with the little bit of testing I did," said Giles, who was in camp as an invited non-roster player. "It's not good enough for my expectations." Giles had appeared in two exhibition games, going hitless in four at-bats as a designated hitter. But he had drawn a walk, which gave him an opportunity to run the bases. To try running the bases. "Cutting in that game, I was starting to feel it," said Giles, who briefly conferred with general manager Ned Colletti in preparing for his decision. "It was getting to me, and it takes the fun out of it. It's time, and I'm content with it. "Physically, I'm not able to do what I'd like to do. We talked about it, and there are no regrets." Well, Colletti did have a regret. "My only regret is that he didn't have a chance to play here," Colletti said. "We knew we'd be taking a chance with him, and his knee is bothering him." Giles had made it into only 69 games with the Padres last season before landing on their disabled list on June 23 with the contusion in the knee. He never played again, and on Thursday gave up the good fight with a .291 career average in 1,847 games. He leaves behind a trail of honors ( two All-Star selections), accomplishments, a reputation as a hard-nosed retro player and a legion of admirers among former teammates.
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"He was loved in his locker room," San Diego closer Heath Bell said. "He was a pleasure to have. Always a fun guy, upbeat, even when he was hurt. If he's going to hang it up, I'm sad. He's such a great guy. If he thinks that's the best thing for him, I wish him well."Padres outfielder Scott Hairston called Giles "one of the best I played with." "He just grinded it out, each and every at-bat," Hairston added. "I never saw him beat himself up if he was in a rut. He kept the same composure. Personally, I took it as a privilege to play with a guy like that for a few years. He brought a lot of laughs to the clubhouse. He had a great career." The last 6 1/2 years of that career were spent in San Diego, following the August 2003 trade with the Pirates in which the Padres gave up Jason Bay. A 17th-round pick in the 1989 First-Year Player Draft by Cleveland, Giles reached the Indians in 1995 and spent his first four season with the Tribe. "I really have no regrets. I played the game hard, respected the game.," Giles said. "I wish I was still physically able to be part of this team, it just didn't work out." Giles' immediate plans are to go home, then re-visit camp next week when the Dodgers and manager Joe Torre return from their Taiwan tour. "I want to go home, come back out next week, thank Joe," Giles said. "I want to thank Ned and the Dodgers organization for giving me a chance." Giles' decision narrows the battle for a left-handed bat off the Dodgers bench down to two other veterans, also in camp as non-roster guests: Garret Anderson and Doug Mientkiewicz.