After weeks of back and forth, veteran left-hander Darren Oliver has officially decided to return to the Toronto Blue Jays' bullpen, accepting his salary of $3 million for the 2013 season, the team has announced.
It was reported last week that the 42-year-old southpaw was still deciding between a 20th MLB season and retirement, and that a big motivator in his final decision would be whether the Blue Jays offered him a raise over the standing $3 million he was set to earn this year.
In a statement made during a conference call Wednesday, relayed by Shi Davidi of Sportsnet, Oliver denied ever making demands for a raise, stating that his final decision came down to the blessing of his wife and two children, not money:
Darren Oliver insists he never demanded more money to pitch another season for the Toronto Blue Jays, nor did he indicate a preference that he be traded to the Texas Rangers.
All that other stuff from a couple of weeks ago was, apparently, no more than his agent speaking out of turn.
"I was out of town when that article was written, and I didn't say those things, that was coming from Jeff Frye, my agent," Oliver said.
It is unclear whether veteran's return to the bullpen will put Toronto's search for a late-inning reliever on hold, but you can be sure Oliver's agent will probably be sending him some flowers with a nice apology in the very near future.
A starter for a good portion of his career, Oliver has been absolutely lights-out since moving to the bullpen full-time in 2006. The big left-hander owns a 2.86 ERA and 7.5 K/9 rate over the last seven seasons, averaging 66 innings of work a year in that span.