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Originally published February 17, 2012 at 9:58 PM | Page modified February 17, 2012 at 11:52 PM

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Knuckleballer Tim Wakefield of Boston Red Sox retires | Baseball

Boston pitcher Tim Wakefield, 45, announced his retirement Friday. The knuckleballer had a 200-180 record and pitched 3,226-1/3 innings in 19 major-league seasons.

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Tim was legit. Even if you don't like the Red Sox...it's pretty ez to be a fan of Tim... MORE
Too bad that one of the last best knuckle ball pitcher is retiring. I really like... MORE

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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Tim Wakefield has never been afraid to face a hitter with his knuckleball, kind of like he has not been afraid to face the truth.

After all, he pitched in parts of three decades, won 200 games and was a part of two World Series titles.

So, with all that — as well as a ton of memories from 19 seasons in the majors, the last 17 with the Boston Red Sox — an emotional Wakefield, 45, announced his retirement Friday.

"Now," he said, "I'll have a lot of time to really reflect on all of the accomplishments I have been able to do."

Drafted as a first baseman by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1988, right-hander Wakefield was converted to a knuckleballer after two seasons.

But in April 1995, after going 5-15 with a 5.84 earned-run average in Class AAA ball, he was released.

The Red Sox pounced and Wakefield completed his career with a 200-180 record and 4.41 ERA after pitching 3,226-1/3 innings in the majors.

"There were some years there where I didn't know if I was going to come back or not," Wakefield said.

Yankees deal Burnett to Pittsburgh

TAMPA, Fla. — After days of haggling over money and names, the New York Yankees completed a deal to send beleaguered right-hander A.J. Burnett to the Pittsburgh Pirates, where he became the team's highest-paid player.

According to a major-league official, the Pirates acquired Burnett for two minor-league players: right-handed pitcher Diego Moreno and outfielder Exicardo Cayones, both from Venezuela. The Pirates reportedly will pay $13 million of the $30.9 million remaining on Burnett's contract that has two years left.

Burnett, 35, needs to pass a physical. In three seasons with the Yankees, he was 34-35 with a 4.79 earned-run average.

Notes

• Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda, acquired in a trade with the Mariners last month, said he weighed 280 pounds and wanted to get down to 270. Pineda, 23, is listed at 6 feet 7 and 260 pounds on the New York roster.

• The Oakland Athletics have interest in signing 39-year-old Manny Ramirez, who has 555 career home runs, for slightly more than the major-league minimum of $480,000.

Ramirez must serve a 50-game suspension without pay for violating baseball's drug policy for the second time.

Johan Santana, 32, a two-time winner of the Cy Young Award, threw off a mound for the first time after a 4 ½-month break as he tries to make it back to the majors for the New York Mets' opener in April. He had surgery on his left shoulder Sept. 14, 2010.

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