Monday, March 27, 2006

Injured Bagwell fears for career

Houston Astros legend Jeff Bagwell admits he may never play again because of his long-running shoulder problem.

The 37-year-old first baseman missed large parts of last season with the injury, which hampers his throwing.

He has spent spring training trying to prove he can still play - but will start the new season, which begins on 2 April, on the disabled list.

"With the condition of my shoulder, I'm not going to be able to start the season with the Astros," he said.

"I came down to spring training to see if I could still make it as a first baseman.

"But I may never play again, although I'm not ruling it out. It's been 15 years with the Astros, but I have to do what's best for me, for the Astros and for baseball."

Bagwell has hit a club record 449 home runs for Houston after spending his entire career with them.

He has had the arthritic shoulder problem since 2001 - and has now said that he will consult a doctor to see if it will be beneficial to remove bone spurs from the shoulder.

In January, the Astros filed an insurance claim to recoup about $15.6m (£8.96m) of his $17m (£9.76m) salary - but he must remain on the injured list all season for them to collect their money.

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