For Mitch Williams, it's Rangers in '95 or retirement

June 03, 1994|By Fort Worth Star-Telegram

FORT WORTH, Texas -- Mitch Williams said there is only one team that can lure him back to baseball: the Texas Rangers.

With the hurt and embarrassment from being released by the Houston Astros still fresh, the 29-year-old left-handed reliever says that he won't play again this season no matter who wants him. He said yesterday that his retirement will become permanent unless the Rangers want him.

"The only way I would come back is if it's with the Rangers," he said from his ranch in Hico. "I'm going to stay close to home."

There is more to Williams' desire to play for the Rangers than a 90-mile drive to work, though. He played for the Rangers from 1986, his rookie year, through 1988. After that season, he was the key player in a trade with the Chicago Cubs that netted the Rangers Rafael Palmeiro.

"I started there and I would love to finish there," he said.

Are the Rangers interested?

"Maybe," general manager Tom Grieve said. "We're not even to the All-Star break yet this year, so I'm not looking too far down the road."

The Rangers say they won't try to talk Williams out of his decision to take the rest of the summer off.

"The fact that he says he doesn't want to play is the big reason why," Grieve said.

Williams, indeed, said he doesn't want to play this year, unless he is claimed on waivers. If he is claimed he would have to report to that team or forfeit his $2.5 million salary for the rest of the season. If not, the Astros still must pay him.

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