Rheal Cormier was all but done with baseball -- at least the playing part -- after pitching in just six games during the 2007 season. He had moved to Florida and was enjoying the spoils of a 17-year big league career (he missed all of 1998 and all but one start in 1997). Then Baseball Canada called, saying they needed another left-handed reliever for situational spots. Cormier, who compiled a 71-64 record between 108 games started and 571 relief appearances, happily obliged to get the chance to officially end his career playing for his country. "They needed a reliever and the more I thought about it the more I said why not?'' Cormier told The Telegraph-Journal. "I talked to them and I talked to my wife. We're all excited. Why not? If I can help, I'm glad to give it a try."
Making his big league debut in 1991 with the St. Louis Cardinals, Cormier started 10 games, earning a 4-5 record with two complete games. He would start his last game in 1997 with the Montreal Expos and would then have to undergo tendon transplant surgery. He only made it through 9.2 innings in 1998 in the minors before his season was ended with a sore shoulder. In 1999, he had to earn his way into the Boston Red Sox bullpen during spring training. The Red Sox gamble on Cormier's rehabilitated arm paid off as the lefty was 2-0 in 60 relief appearances with a 3.69 ERA. Cormier eventually signed with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2000 after being granted free agency by Boston. He would go on to have his best season ever in 2003 with an 8-0 record and 1.70 ERA.
Getting back in shape
In order to stay loose for Canada, Cormier signed on with the Moncton Mets in the New Brunswick Senior Baseball League. "I just want to come out and do my work and pitch well," he told The Times & Transcript. "You know, then move on, pitch for Canada and then kind of put closure to the career." In five games with the Mets, through July 14, Cormier had pitched 8.2 innings with a 2-1 record and 4.20 ERA.
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