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This time it really is over: Dodgers release Gagne

March 21, 2010 | 10:42 pm

Gagne_300 Well, it was a nice thought. Almost romantic. Its execution, however, left something to be desired.

So as Ken Gurnick reports at, on Sunday night reliever Eric Gagne asked for and was given his release by the Dodgers.

L.A. Game Over.

Gagne was one of the most exciting players in Dodgers history, a record closer and a Cy Young Award winner in 2003. When the bullpen gates opened and the loudspeakers blared Guns N’ Roses’ "Welcome to the Jungle," Dodger Stadium absolutely rocked.

But then came elbow and back injuries, free agency and a link to performance-enhancing drugs in the Mitchell Report. He spent last season in an independent league.

Gagne wanted to make a comeback with the team that had witnessed his glory years. He signed late and then struggled. He agreed he needed more work and accepted a minor league assignment after posting a 20.25 earned-run average in 2-2/3 innings this spring.

Now, he apparently wants another opportunity.

"Both sides thought at this juncture it was in Eric's best interest to see if he can find another opportunity, rather than wait until later in spring or into April if he wants to continue to pitch," General Manager Ned Colletti told Gurnick. "It's better that he has a couple weeks to go."

Gagne is only 34. Maybe he yet pulls of his comeback. But his Dodgers career is officially over.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Eric Gagne with the Dodgers in 2002. Credit: Paul Chiasson / Associated Press.