Sunday, February 26, 2012
Torii Hunter wants to extend career
By Mark Saxon
TEMPE, Ariz. -- A few months away from baseball have convinced Torii Hunter that he doesn't want to end his career when his days with the Los Angeles Angels are over.
Hunter, a free agent next fall, said last September he would retire rather than play for another team. The Angels have several young players, including slugger Mark Trumbo and top prospect Mike Trout, pushing for playing time in the outfield.
After reporting and going through his physical at the start of spring training Sunday, Hunter, 36, said he will play next season whether it's in Anaheim or elsewhere.
"I'm just going to keep playing and get it out of my system, because I don't want to go home and be like, 'I've got like two or three years left,'" Hunter said. "I know I've got two or three good years in me. My body's good, my athletic ability is good. I can go out there and play.
"I might not play like I was 27, but I can play like I'm 28."
Last September, Hunter told ESPNLosAngeles.com he didn't want to play for another team.
"I'll retire an Angel no matter what, whether they give me an extension or whether it's next year," Hunter said at the time. "This is the only place I want to play. I'm not going anywhere."
Hunter is going into the final season of a five-year, $90 million contract he signed entering 2008. In 2010, he moved from center field -- where he won nine Gold Gloves -- to right field to make room for speedster Peter Bourjos. Hunter said he lost 16 pounds working out with a track coach in Arizona in January.
He had a rough first half last season, but rebounded to bat .262 with 23 home runs and 82 RBIs.
Mark Saxon covers the Angels for ESPNLosAngeles.com