After attempting to deal with an ailing right shoulder for three-plus years, the Houston Astros' Jeff Bagwell finally ended up on the disabled list.
Now the question is whether it will be a permanent stay.
"My career could be over," Bagwell said. "I don't know yet. We'll have to see how things go, but I've certainly thought about it lately."
Bagwell, who will turn 37 this month, tore his labrum in 2001 and had shoulder surgery after that season. The shoulder never really rebounded, and he has been playing with persistent pain since. Finally, he has decided to rest it.
"That's the one thing I've never really tried," Bagwell said. "The pain comes from inside the shoulder, so we'll see how this works."
If Bagwell hangs it up, he will fall short of some magic numbers. He has 449 homers and 2,311 hits in 15 seasons; he would need at least one more year to reach 500 home runs and probably four more to get to 3,000 hits.
But Bagwell shouldn't need milestones to gain entrance into the Hall of Fame.
Although his current career statistics are similar to those of two contemporary first basemen who may miss getting into Cooperstown - Fred McGriff and Andres Galarraga - Bagwell's career was four seasons shorter. And it would end due to injury, not ineffectiveness.
Besides, few players in baseball combined consistency and overall talent the way Bagwell did. He scored 100-plus runs and/or hit 30-plus homers nine different times. He walked 100 times a season on seven different occasions and 10 times he had double-digit totals in steals, including twice swiping 30 or more bases. He has a career .297 batting average and .408 on-base percentage.
Also, he was durable, playing in 155 games or more 10 times. He won a Gold Glove, a Rookie of the Year award and a Most Valuable Player award. He finished in the top three of the MVP voting three times and six times in the top 10.
Sure, his Astros were 1-5 in the postseason and never made it to the World Series, but that wasn't purely Bagwell's fault.
He was a gamer, a leader and dominant for more than a decade. So, if this is it for him, his next stop should be Cooperstown.
What's the worst job going in baseball? How about Chicago Cubs closer? If you want to apply, bring your insurance card. Incumbent Joe Borowski broke his wrist in spring training. Chad Fox blew out his elbow last month. LaTroy Hawkins' psyche is so damaged he was moved to middle relief. And, in Ryan Dempster's first attempt at a save, he suffered a deep bruise on his right forearm courtesy of a line drive by Mike Piazza.
The Cubs blew five of their first 10 save chances, but expect Borowski back soon.
Colorado's Preston Wilson is available, but the Rockies expect their trading partner to pick up a chunk of his $12 million salary. ... The Cubs' Greg Maddux notched his 34th win against the New York Mets, his most against any team.
League notebooks are complied from interviews, wire services and reports from other newspapers.