ST. LOUIS (AP) – Cal Eldred, who came back from serious injury and illness in the last three seasons to pitch for the St. Louis Cardinals, has decided to retire.

The 38-year-old right-hander was 1-0 with a 2.19 ERA in 31 games last season. He was sidelined for two months with a heart infection this year and missed the 2002 season and all but two games of 2001 after an elbow injury.

Eldred’s agent, Ron Shapiro, said Tuesday that Eldred intends to file the necessary retirement papers with the players’ association.

“He’s just at a point where he’s thrilled to have had all of the opportunities he’s had and he feels it’s time to focus on his family,” Shapiro said. “I just think it’s a matter of timing. Some people stay longer in this game than they should, and Cal’s not going to do that.”

Eldred has a 86-74 career record with a 4.42 ERA, including a 16-win season in 1993 with the Milwaukee Brewers. He moved to the bullpen after joining the Cardinals in 2003, appearing in a career-high 62 games in 2003 and 52 games in 2004.

Eldred was hospitalized for three days in April with myopericarditis and was in a weakened state for several weeks.

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