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A title could push Wells out of game

September 18, 2007|Dylan Hernandez | Times Staff Writer

David Wells isn't ready to leave baseball -- not unless the Dodgers win the World Series.

"I think a ring would solidify everything," Wells said. "I think it would be the only thing that could pull me away from the game. But that's a big favor to ask from the baseball gods. If it doesn't happen, maybe it's because they want me back."

Wells, who is set to pitch the second game of a doubleheader today in Colorado, said he has thought about retirement. The 44-year old acknowledged thinking it had been forced on him when he was released by the San Diego Padres last month. And he said his wife asked him last week about the possibility of this being his last season.

"You know what?" Wells said. "This game, it's my life. When you get it taken from you, you don't know what you're going to do."

Wells said he used to feel a certain sadness when glancing at the statistics on the back of baseball cards and noticing how a once-great player suddenly put up awful numbers one year. "I always said I didn't want to do that," Wells said. "But now I understand. They had the passion for the game."

Walking away is harder because of the way he's pitched for the Dodgers, he said. Wells is 3-0 with a 3.91 earned-run average in four starts.

"They've always told me I was going to break down and I haven't yet," Wells said.

But Wells wants a greater share of his contract to be guaranteed. The deal he signed with the Padres for this season had a base salary of $3 million and performance bonuses that could add another $3 million. "You kind of get sick and tired of doing that," Wells said. "I've earned the right to have a guaranteed contract because I take the ball every five days."

But the money, he said, is secondary to being around the game. He said he has enjoyed watching the development of young pitchers Chad Billingsley and Jonathan Broxton.

"Chad's opening up to me more and more," Wells said. "It's great. He's got a hell of future ahead of him. It's like Jake Peavy and Chris Young over in San Diego. The kid's got potential, and all he wants to do is absorb knowledge of the game."

Of Broxton, he said, "If he takes care of that arm, he's going to be a great closer someday."


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