All-times saves leader Trevor Hoffman announces retirement

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Trevor Hoffman has decided to retire after 18 seasons and an MLB record 601 saves, the future Hall of Famer told Barry Bloom of MLB.com today.

As recently as last month Hoffman was looking for work as a free agent, but with no teams willing to guarantee him a shot at closing in 2011 the 43-year-old right-hander called it quits and will instead take a front office job with the Padres.

It’s time to retire. It’s time to move on. This is more of a self-evaluation. I expect to pitch at a certain level and I had to be honest with myself that I wasn’t certain I could maintain that anymore.

Bloom notes that Hoffman and the Padres had a difficult parting of ways in 2008, but after spending two seasons with the Brewers he’s ready to put that behind him and return to organization he called home for 16 years. Hopefully they’ll begin the press conference by playing his entrance music: “Hells Bells” by AC/DC.

Hoffman was a seven-time All-Star who twice finished runner-up in the NL Cy Young voting and racked up 40-plus saves in nine different seasons, which is an MLB record. He’s the all-time leader with 601 saves, putting him 42 ahead of Mariano Rivera and more than 300 ahead of any other active pitcher. In other words Hoffman will be first or second all time in saves when he goes into Cooperstown, presumably five years from now.

Not bad for a guy who was drafted as a shortstop and didn’t become a full-time closer until age 26.

Dodgers designate Sergio Romo for assignment

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The Dodgers announced on Thursday that the club activated pitcher Grant Dayton from the 10-day disabled list and designated pitcher Sergio Romo for assignment.

Dayton, 29, went on the disabled list earlier this month with neck stiffness. He’ll resume with a 3.63 ERA and a 20/12 K/BB ratio in 22 1/3 innings.

Romo, 34, signed a one-year, $3 million deal with the Dodgers in February. It didn’t really work out, as the right-hander posted a 6.12 ERA with a 31/12 K/BB ratio in 25 innings. His peripherals are still decent, so it wouldn’t be surprising if a team in need of a bullpen arm makes a deal with the Dodgers within the week.

Nate Karns underwent season-ending surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome

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MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports that Royals pitcher Nate Karns underwent surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome on Wednesday. He’s expected to be ready for spring training next year. Karns went on the disabled list in May with an elbow injury and didn’t make much progress.

The Royals acquired Karns from the Mariners in January in exchange for outfielder Jarrod Dyson. Over eight starts and one relief appearance, the 29-year-old right-hander compiled a 4.17 ERA and a 51/13 K/BB ratio in 45 1/3 innings.

Karns will enter his first of three years of arbitration eligibility after the season, so he’ll be under the Royals’ control through 2020.