Free agent Brad Lidge plans to retire

NASHVILLE -- Four years ago, he lived every closer's dream, throwing the final pitch of the 2008 World Series. Now, Brad Lidge has thrown his final pitch, period.

Lidge's agent, Rex Gary, said Sunday that the 35-year-old right-hander had informed him and partner Jim Turner that he plans to retire.

Lidge was released by the Nationals last June, after struggling to make a comeback from April surgery to repair a sports hernia. Originally, he told ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick at the time, he planned to take some time off to recover while deciding whether he wanted to pitch again.

But after reflecting on it through the summer and fall, Lidge decided the time had come to call it a career, Gary said.

In 11 seasons with the Astros, Phillies and Nationals, Lidge saved 225 games in the regular season and 18 more in the postseason, the second-highest postseason save total in history, behind only Mariano Rivera (42).

Lidge's 799 regular-season strikeouts in just 603 1/3 innings compute to 11.919 strikeouts per nine innings -- the second-best strikeout ratio in history among men who pitched at least 500 innings and only about a thousandth of a percentage point behind that of his former teammate in Houston, Billy Wagner (11.920).

Lidge's first 123 saves came for the Astros, the team that drafted him in the first round of the 1998 draft. But his signature season came in Philadelphia in 2008, when he converted every one of his 48 save opportunities during the regular season and postseason, and finished off the second championship season in Phillies franchise history by striking out Eric Hinske for the final out of the World Series.