March 18, 2011 / 8:28 PM / 9 years ago

Angels reliever Shields retires after brilliant career

Los Angeles Angels relief pitcher Scot Shields delivers a ninth inning pitch against the Kansas City Royals during the Angels win in their MLB American League baseball game in Kansas City, Missouri, June 2, 2010. REUTERS/Dave Kaup

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Los Angeles Angels pitcher Scot Shields, one of the premier set-up relievers of the past decade, announced his retirement from Major League Baseball, the team said on Friday.

Shields, who threw a lively fastball despite his slender build, preserved late-inning leads and set up saves for closers Troy Percival and Francisco Rodriguez on Angels teams that won five American League West titles in six years.

The 35-year-old Shields, who endured two injury-disrupted seasons the last two years of his 10-year career, had a lifetime record of 46-44 with an earned run average of 3.18, and averaged 8.1 strikeouts per nine innings.

“Scot was a huge part of our success over the course of his career here,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said in a statement. “He definitely understood the challenge of pitching late in games and in doing so became the best set-up man in baseball.”

Shields, who won a World Series with the Angels in 2002, retires as their all-time leader in relief victories and ranks second in appearances behind Percival.

Since the “hold” statistic for preserving late leads in games was created in 1999, Shields owns the American League record with 155, leading the league in holds for four consecutive seasons from 2005.

Writing by Larry Fine, Editing by Frank Pingue

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