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Archive for Friday, July 15, 2005

Marlins designate pitcher Leiter for assignment

July 15, 2005

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— Al Leiter's second stint with Florida never came close to matching his fantastic first one.

Now, Leiter won't get the chance to turn around his sinking season with the Marlins.

Leiter was designated for assignment Thursday by Florida, perhaps signaling the end of a 19-year career for the left-hander who helped the Marlins and Toronto Blue Jays win World Series titles.

Leiter agreed to an $8 million, one-year contract with Florida in the offseason, but never regained the form that saw him win 27 games and a World Series ring with the Marlins in 1996 and 1997. Leiter struggled with his control and briefly was bumped to the bullpen in his second stint with the Marlins, going 3-7 with a 6.64 earned-run average in 16 starts.

He gave up 88 hits and walked 60 in 80 innings. His last game was a 9-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Sunday where he allowed six hits and six runs - five earned - in three-plus innings.

"It's always tough," Marlins manager Jack McKeon said. "He's been a very successful pitcher. You always hate to see something like that happen. He's a real pro and a good guy."

The Marlins have 10 days to trade him or put him on waivers. Leiter, 39, had spent the last seven years with the New York Mets, going 10-8 with a 3.21 ERA last season. He's 158-127 with a 3.76 ERA in a career that began in 1987 with the New York Yankees.

"You see the kind of year he had last year and knew he was perfectly capable of doing it again," outfielder Jeff Conine said. "You could sit here and guess all you want about what happens."

General manager Larry Beinfest told Leiter of his decision on Wednesday afternoon. Beinfest said he didn't know what Leiter's plans were.

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