Rafael Palmeiro has been sent home to Texas, where he likely will ponder the possibility of returning next year while rehabilitating knee and ankle injuries that have further ruined what was once a rewarding season.
"Everything just kind of crumbled, unexpectedly really," the Baltimore Orioles first baseman said Monday. "I never expected that anything would happen to me, not at this stage of my career anyway."
Palmeiro's season unraveled soon after he collected his 3,000 career hit on July 15. He received a 10-day suspension on Aug. 1 for testing positive for steroids, and upon his return was booed by fans in Baltimore and on the road.
He is 2-for-26 with one RBI since coming back and has been bothered the past two weeks by injuries to his left ankle and right knee. The Orioles still expect him to play this month, but decided Monday that it would be best for him to recover at home.
"We feel like he can do that there," interim manager Sam Perlozzo said. "We will monitor him and bring him back at the end when he's ready. We definitely feel like he's going to play again this year. I'd like to see him get back for the last 10 days, anyway."
Things can't get much worse for Palmeiro, who's experiencing a one-of-a-kind season for all the wrong reasons.
"I've played my whole career pretty much injury-free. There's been no controversy in my life at all, on and off the field," Palmeiro said. "I've always been a type of person that does it the right way and follows the rules and does the right thing for the most part."
This isn't the way Palmeiro, 40, wanted to go out. For that reason he's still considering coming back next season.
"Obviously, I would love to play and come back and finish and hopefully to prove to everyone that I can still play at a high level, that I can still be productive and do it the right way, which I've always done," he said. "I just don't know. I can't look that far ahead and predict what's going to happen. I would love to have that opportunity, but I have a lot of things to think about and a lot of things to weigh."
Ending his season at this point, however, is not in his immediate plans.
AILING A'S: The Oakland Athletics are banged up at the wrong time. Outfielder Bobby Kielty is out indefinitely with a strained right oblique muscle sustained on a swing during Sunday's 7-3 loss to the New York Yankees, ace Barry Zito is having spasms below his right shoulder blade and center fielder Mark Kotsay still wasn't back in the lineup Monday.
The health of No. 2 starter Rich Harden is still in question, and reigning AL Rookie of the Year shortstop Bobby Crosby has a broken left ankle.
Manager Ken Macha slowly went over his lengthy list of injured players before Monday's game against the Seattle Mariners.
Kotsay missed his eighth straight game with soreness in his back and was possibly going to hit in the cage with the intent of returning to the lineup Tuesday. He also did some rotational exercises and worked out on the treadmill.
"Tomorrow, as long as I don't do anything crazy today," said Kotsay, who had more treatment on his back. "I feel good today."
REDS MOVES: The Reds activated infielder Ryan Freel from the 15-day disabled list and added three right-handed pitchers to their roster on Monday. Joe Valentine, who opened the season with the Reds, Allan Simpson and catcher Miguel Perez were recalled from Triple-A Louisville. The Reds also purchased the contract of pitcher Chris Booker from the Bats.