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02/24/09 8:52 PM EST
Borowski drops in on former mates
Ex-Indians closer enjoying retirement in Arizona with 'no regrets'
By Anthony Castrovince / MLB.com
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Former Tribe closer Joe Borowski walked into the Indians' Player Development Complex on Tuesday morning, carrying a cup of Starbucks coffee. When Borowski, who lives in nearby Scottsdale, joined the Indians in 2007, he quite comically complained about the lack of Starbucks near the club's former Spring Training site in Winter Haven, Fla.
"I can drink as much as I want now," Borowski said with a laugh.
Yes, retirement has been forced upon the 37-year-old Borowski, but he's enjoying it. The Indians released him on July 4 of last year, and he turned down a potential opportunity with the Red Sox in August. Over the winter, he tried out for eight teams, and scouts from the Phillies and Tigers showed legitimate interest. But when a deal wasn't reached within a couple weeks of camps opening, Borowski decided to call it a career.
"My body was ready," he said, "but the teams weren't."
Borowski's right shoulder condition was so poor that the Indians were surprised he made it through the entire 2007 season, in which he notched an American League-leading 45 saves and was a key contributor to the Tribe's AL Central title run. Last year, he went on the disabled list early in the season with a strained triceps, and he struggled throughout the first half, going 1-3 with a 7.56 ERA and six saves in 10 chances.
The Red Sox offered Borowski a Minor League deal, telling him he could join the big league club if he showed he was back to full health at Class A Fort Myers. But he didn't think his arm strength was all the way back to where it needed to be.
"I wanted to give myself a full offseason to get ready to where I had no doubt that I'd be effective," Borowski said.
Borowski felt he got to that point by January, when he began throwing bullpen sessions in front of scouts from eight teams. The scouts from Detroit and Philadelphia told him they would recommend that their clubs sign Borowski, but he said a "cat-and-mouse" waiting game ensued, and he grew tired of the process. It was ironic that the Phillies had any interest, given that they rescinded a two-year contract offer to Borowski before the '07 season because of concerns about his medical reports, thus freeing him to sign with the Tribe.
Once he made the decision to pack it in for good, Borowski breathed a sigh of relief.
"I'm at ease," he said. "I have no regrets. It's almost like a big burden off my shoulders."
Borowski is thinking about getting into television work, and he has a meeting lined up with an executive from Fox Sports Phoenix this week.
Looking back at his time with the Tribe, Borowski, who was here to tour the new complex and catch up with his old teammates, said he has no complaints.
"I made friends here that I'll have for the rest of my life," he said. "There are a lot of shady organizations, but this isn't one of them. They treated me very well. It was enjoyable and I wish them nothing but the best."
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.