- Associated Press - Saturday, March 26, 2011

PHOENIX (AP) - Veteran left-hander Mike Hampton retired Saturday, ending a 16-year big league career after giving up on a bid to earn a roster spot with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

“I just knew it was time,” the 38-year-old Hampton said in a statement. “The fire is there and the passion will always be there, but physically it was just time to shut it down.”

The oft-injured Hampton was 148-115 with a 4.06 ERA in 419 games, including 355 starts.

He began his career with Seattle in 1993 and played for the Houston Astros, New York Mets, Colorado Rockies, Atlanta Braves and Diamondbacks.

He led the National League with 22 wins in 1999 while with Houston. But the two-time All-Star had just 10 wins in the past five seasons.

Hampton had elbow surgery in 2005 and 2007, and rotator cuff surgery in 2009. He signed a minor-league contract with Arizona last August.

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