Scot Shields retires after 10 years as elite, underrated reliever

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Scot Shields was said to be pondering retirement throughout the offseason and the longtime Angels setup man officially called it quits today after a 10-year career in which he threw 697 innings with a 3.18 ERA.

Because he never got a chance to be a full-time closer Shields was almost always overlooked during discussions of the game’s top relievers, but his seven-year run from 2002-2008 was remarkable in its consistent excellence.

In those seven seasons he won 45 games with a 2.98 ERA while logging an average of 90 innings per year, striking out 573 batters while allowing just 520 hits.

Even with two ineffective, injury wrecked seasons to end his career Shields still finishes with a 3.18 ERA, which trails only Mariano Rivera (2.23), Billy Wagner (2.31), Francisco Rodriguez (2.50), Joe Nathan (2.75), and Trevor Hoffman (2.87) among active (as of 2010) relievers with at least 500 innings. He was an incredibly durable, elite reliever who rarely got the credit he deserved because of the game’s obsession with saves.

Video: Gleyber Torres slugs a home run in his fourth straight game

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Yankees rookie second baseman Gleyber Torres has a fun streak going right now: He’s homered in four straight games, becoming the youngest American League player to do so.

The historic knock arrived in the seventh inning of Friday’s series opener against the Angels. With two outs and the bases empty, Torres pounced on a 1-3 fastball from Jim Johnson and posted it to the right field bleachers for a go-ahead run:

It was just the Yankees’ second run of the night (the first having also been provided by Torres on an RBI single in the second inning), but the only one they needed to maintain an edge over the Angels.

Torres, 21, is off to a torrid start this season. Following Saturday’s 2-1 win, he now carries a .333/.393/.646 batting line, nine home runs and a 1.038 OPS through 106 plate appearances. In the past four games alone, he’s gone 7-for-15 with five homers (including a pair of solo shots, a two-run homer and three-run homer) and nine RBI. He’ll have to collect a home run in his next five games if he wants to set a new all-time record, however: Dale Long (1956 Pirates), Don Mattingly (1987 Yankees), and Ken Griffey Jr. (1993 Mariners) currently share the record for the longest home run-hitting streak, at eight games apiece.