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Boston Red Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster decides not to pitch in 2014

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The Boston Red Sox entered spring training with six potential starters. That number has decreased to five. According to Fox Sports on Feb. 16, starting pitcher Ryan Dempster has decided not to pitch in 2014.

The 36-year-old right-hander hasn’t announced a retirement as he is open to a return in 2015, but is stepping away from the game for physical reasons and to spend more time with his family. The defending World Series champions will place Dempster on the restricted list, which means he will not receive the second part of his two-year deal that he signed before the 2013 season.

Dempster, who was brought in to solidify the back end of the Sox five man rotation, added character to a Sox team that struggled to a last place finish in the AL East just the year before. He finished the season with an 8-9 record and a 4.57 ERA. In making the announcement, Dempster said he is proud of his 16 year run in the Major Leagues.

“I had an incredible run, a chance to play 16 years in the major leagues and be around a lot of great teammates, made a lot of good friendships, great friendships. I’m totally comfortable with it. I’m at peace with my decision.”

Dempster’s decision does come as a surprise, but it does open up a chance for the Red Sox to see what they have with some of their younger arms. The team still has a solid rotation with Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, John Lackey, Jake Peavy and Felix Doubront.

Over his 16-year career, Ryan Dempster has played with the Florida Marlins, Cincinnati Reds, Chicago Cubs, Texas Rangers and the Red Sox.

He was due to make $13.25 million this season.

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