10/06/06 11:01 PM ET
Radke faces tough retirement decision
Veteran may have made his final appearance in Game 3
By Kelly Thesier / MLB.com
Before this season, Radke confirmed once again that this likely would be his last season, but he had no idea the obstacles that would await him.After throwing all year with pain, it intensified to the point where it forced him out of a start on Aug. 25 at Detroit, making it appear that his career would come to an end even quicker than anticipated. The fact that Radke was able to come back from a stress fracture in his shoulder socket to pitch so well in his last two starts has made the decision a little more difficult. "I felt pretty good the last couple weeks, and I never thought I would feel this way about my shoulder," Radke said. "But it's a difficult decision. I feel like I probably could go back out next year." One minute it seemed the Radke was giving his teammates hope for a return, but the next minute, his decision seemed to have already been made. "I think I'm just making excuses," Radke said. "I think I know what my decision is going to be. Watching Radke sit on the end of the bench was hard for all the Twins players, who knew this could be the last time they would be able to have the ultimate teammate battling for them. "Guys went over and gave him hugs, and I personally went over and thanked him for everything," shortstop Jason Bartlett said. "Brad is a great guy. You'll never find another veteran like him. I was happy I could be a part of his team and play with him." A long line of players and coaches stopped by Radke's locker before the clubhouse emptied. The pitcher stood and looked around for a bit as he took off the uniform that he has worn for the past 12 years. Radke knows that a tough decision awaits him, and he's going to take his time before making it. "It's hard," Radke said as his lip trembled a bit. "When you have to decide whether to walk away from something you've been doing your whole life, it's not easy. Right now it's just hard for me to fathom that this might be the end."
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.