Lieberthal retires

Just before playing soccer for the first time in his life earlier today in a charity celebrity game hosted by Nomar Garciaparra and Mia Hamm, former Dodgers backup catcher Mike Lieberthal, a two-time All-Star while with Philadephia and a graduate of Westlake High School, said he has decided to retire. Lieberthal made the decision in October, when it became clear the Dodgers wouldn’t pick up his $1.5 million contract option for this season.
“If they would have picked up my option, I probably would have played one more year,” Lieberthal said. “But I didn’t want to go anywhere else. … I’m totally in a very happy place now.”
Lieberthal said he would like to stay in the game in some capacity, possibly in broadcasting, but that he has no desire to coach because it would require him to start again in the low minors and work his way up.
Lieberthal, who turned 36 last week, spent 14 seasons in the majors, mostly as the starting catcher for the Phillies. He spent just one season with the Dodgers, signing last winter to be Russell Martin’s backup, and wound up playing in just 38 games while hitting .234 with one RBI. This was one of the truly good guys in the game, and he’ll be missed — although he did say he plans to attend a handful of Dodgers games this season.
The soccer event came off well — or at least it did early (I bolted at halftime). The list of celebrities wasn’t staggering, but there was a handful of fairly significant names, including Anthony Lapaglia starting in goal for Team Nomar. Milo Ventamiglia from Heroes played (sadly, there was no sign of Hayden Panettiere). There was also Elisabeth Shue, who according to has been in a whole bunch of different things since the last thing I saw her in, which was Leaving Las Vegas way back in 1995. She has soccer ties, of course, being the sister of Andrew Shue. Oh, and for soap fans, there was Eric Braeden, the guy who plays the legendary Victor Newman on Y&R, who got around the pitch pretty good for a guy about to turn 67 (according to imdb, anyway).
As for the Dodgers contingent, besides Nomar and Lieberthal, the players included GM Ned Colletti and assistant GM Kim Ng, both of whom played for Team Nomar. Ned told us before the game that he had already pulled something in his leg during pregame stretching. He still got around pretty well, though.

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