JUPITER -- Ryan Dempster, who began his career on a 1998 Marlins team that lost 108 games, announced Sunday that he would not pitch in 2014 due to injuries and his desire to spend time with his family. Whether Dempster, 36, ever pitches again remains to be seen, as he stopped short of terming his decision a retirement. [Read story here.]
Dempster made his major league debut with the Marlins eight days before Marlins manager Mike Redmond made his with Florida, represented the Marlins in the 2000 All-Star Game, and went 42-43 during his five years with the team.
"Demp was a warrior, the ultimate competitor," Redmond said. "We really cut our teeth in the big leagues together with 108 losses that first year. It wasn't easy for any of us. But I know we were all better off for it down the road."
Redmond said he was especially pleased to see Dempster win a World Series ring last season with the Red Sox.
"I was so happy for him what he did last year," Redmond said. "To get that World Series ring was huge. I wanted every one of my teammates to enjoy that experience, and I'm glad he did. He had one helluva career."
Dempster made his big-league debut on May 23, 1998, giving up three runs in a 1-inning relief stint against Pittsburgh. It was a rough beginning for Dempster, who was charged with 12 runs in his first three outings, all in relief, and he finished the season with a 1-7 record and 7.06 ERA.
But he turned into a solid starter for the Marlins before being traded to Cincinnati in a 3-way deal with Montreal midway through the 2002 season. His 42 wins with Florida ranks seventh on the franchise's all-time list, just ahead of Josh Beckett's 41 victories as a Marlin.