Leiter retires after Yanks' win

Leiter retires after one last appearance

TAMPA, Fla. -- After retiring the only batter he faced on Sunday against Cleveland, two-time All-Star Al Leiter announced his retirement.

Leiter, a non-roster invitee to Yankees camp, had just returned from a stint with Team USA in the World Baseball Classic, and there was speculation he would retire following the tournament.

Leiter told manager Joe Torre and general manager Brian Cashman of his decision before the game, and it was decided that he would pitch following Randy Johnson until he got an out, which happened on a ground ball by Eduardo Perez, the first batter he faced.

Leiter cited his family and a desire to go out on his own terms as his reasons for hanging it up.

"Look, I think it comes to this: It feels good to be able to go out on your own terms," Leiter said. "I love the game very much, but when you were a certain type of player for a few years, being a front-end starter, that's the way I think.

"That's the way I still think I can pitch, but the body tells you no and your stuff and the radar gun tell you no. So to be relegated to a lesser role, which is understandable and appropriate, I'm still thinking I'm like a front-end guy, so it's difficult mentally."

The left-hander was 162-132 with a 3.80 ERA in 419 appearances over his 19 big-league seasons, which began and ended with the Yankees. New York selected Leiter in the second round of the 1984 First-Year Player Draft, and he was reacquired for cash considerations from the Marlins on July 16, 2005.

Leiter was a part of two World Series championship teams -- Toronto in 1993 and Florida in 1997.

"I've seen a lot of players not want to stop playing," Torre said. "He was so honest with himself about knowing his personality as a competitor and feeling that that fire or need wasn't there anymore. I was pleased he came back here."

Thomas Simonetti is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.