BOSTON (CBS) – After 17 years in Major League Baseball, former Red Sox postseason hero Derek Lowe is calling it a career.

“I’m officially no longer going to play the game,” Lowe told USA Today. “It’s still enjoyable, but the role I was having wasn’t fulfilling.”

Lowe wouldn’t use the word “retirement,” but won’t pursue any other opportunities. He last pitched on May 19 for the Texas Rangers, allowing two runs in 0.2 innings. He was released him four days later.

Lowe had been pitching in mop-up situations for Texas, appearing in nine games and allowing 13 earned runs over 13 innings of work.

“I was grateful for the opportunity that they gave me in spring training. But having been able to be a starter or a closer throughout your career, being the mop-up long relief guy, I just turned 40 – let someone else try that. … There was no going to (Triple-A) Round Rock, put it that way.”

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The 40-year-old Lowe walks away with a 176-157 career record and a 4.03 earned-run average in 681 career games with the Mariners, Red Sox, Dodgers, Braves, Indians, Yankees and Rangers.

Lowe spent eight seasons in Boston after being acquired by GM Dan Duquette at the 1997 trade deadline along with catcher Jason Varitek for reliever Heathcliffe Slocumb — a trade that will go down as one of the best ever in Boston history.

Lowe was 70-55 with a 3.72 ERA and 85 saves during his time with the Red Sox, and did it all during his time in Boston. He began his Boston career in the starting rotation, but was moved to the bullpen after mixed success. He saved 15 games in 1999 as Boston’s part-time closer, and led the American League with 42 saves in 2000. He was moved back to the rotation late in 2001, and would go 21-8 with a 2.58 ERA as a starter in 2002.

Though he went 12-14 with a 5.42 ERA in the regular season, Lowe played a major role in Boston’s 2004 World Series title. He was the winning pitcher in all three of Boston’s clinching games that year, giving Boston seven scoreless innings in their Game 4, World Series-clinching 3-0 win in St. Louis.

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Lowe also threw a no-hitter while with the Red Sox on April 27, 2002 against the Tampa Bay Rays, the first no-hitter at Fenway Park since 1965.

While he might be hanging up the cleats, Lowe refuses to use the R-word.

“Like I told my dad, I’ll never retire,” he told USA Today. “If you’re not playing, it’s completely self-explanatory. I’m not going to go to the Hall of Fame, so I don’t feel like I need to have a retirement speech. But I was able to play 17 years on some pretty cool teams and win a World Series. So, everyone’s got to stop playing at some point, and this is my time.”


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