By JOE MILICIA, Associated Press Writer
CLEVELAND (AP) - Indians third baseman Travis Fryman, who has struggled most of the year following offseason shoulder surgery, announced Wednesday that he will retire at the end of the season.
Fryman (pictured, above) decided to make the announcement now because a strike could make Wednesday night's game his last. He also thought the timing was appropriate because the Indians were playing Detroit, where he started his career and spent eight seasons.
The players' association is set to strike Friday unless it has an agreement for a labor contract, and the Indians are off on Thursday.
Fryman, 33, said he talked to former Indians general manager John Hart about retiring as early as last season.
"If I was not able to play at an acceptable level, I would walk away," he said.
The 13-year veteran spent time on the disabled list this season because of inflammation in his right shoulder, the one that required surgery.
Fryman was hitting .214 with nine home runs and 47 RBIs entering Wednesday night's game.
The five-time All-Star's productivity took a nosedive in 2001 due to a torn ligament in his right elbow. Fryman played through the pain, but compensating for the elbow helped lead to his shoulder injury.
He played in 98 games and batted .263 with three home runs last year after posting the best numbers of his career in the 2000 season.
"Three of the worst years of my career have been here and two of my best," Fryman said.
Fryman came to the Indians in 1998 after he was briefly on the roster of the expansion Arizona Diamondbacks.
"We've loved him since the day he got here," Indians first baseman Jim Thome said. "He's been like a dad to us."
(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)