Reliever Fuentes retires after 12-year career

Left-handed reliever Brian Fuentes, a 12-year veteran who led the American League with 48 saves in 2009, announced his retirement.

Fuentes, 37, told his hometown newspaper, the Merced Sun-Star, that the decision came down to spending more time with his family.

"I think at one point I went like two months without seeing them," he said, according to the Sun-Star. "Coming home and being able to put them to bed at night made me realize what I was missing."

Fuentes ended his career with his worst season. He was released by the Oakland Athletics in June after going 2-2 with a 6.84 ERA in 26 appearances, including a 5-for-8 success rate on save opportunities. Fuentes wound up signing with the Cardinals, but he made just six appearances for St. Louis before leaving the team in mid-August due to what was termed a family matter. He never rejoined the team.

Fuentes gave up five runs in five innings during his St. Louis stint.

Early in his career, Fuentes was a middle reliever for the Rockies, but eventually he became a solid closer in Colorado. He was selected an All-Star four times, three of those appearances while pitching for the Rockies.

Fuentes signed a two-year, $17.5 million free agent contract with the Los Angeles Angels on Dec. 31, 2008, and he enjoyed his best season the following year. After the 48-save season, he recorded half that many saves in 2010, when he was dealt from the Angels to the Twins in late August.

Prior to the 2011 season, Fuentes signed a two-year, $10.5 million deal with Oakland, but he struggled during his time with the A's.

Fuentes probably will be best remembered in Oakland for ripping then-manager Bob Geren in May 2011, saying the skipper had no communication with the players. Geren was fired the following month, and his replacement, Bob Melvin, was chosen the AL Manager of the Year on Tuesday.