SAN FRANCISCO -- San Francisco Giants first-base coach Luis Pujols suggested to Robb Nen that he try to stage a comeback left-handed.
"No!" the franchise's saves leader said immediately.
The Giants honored their beloved closer Saturday, five months after he announced his difficult decision to retire when he failed to recover from three surgeries on his troublesome right shoulder. Nen underwent countless hours of rehabilitation to try to return, but ultimately called it quits with 314 saves to his name.
Nen received a long standing ovation as his signature song -- Smoke on the Water -- blared from the SBC Park sound system. Highlights of him pitching were shown on the main center-field scoreboard.
St. Louis outfielder Reggie Sanders, a teammate of Nen's on the Giants' 2002 World Series team, clapped from the Cardinals dugout. Giants players watched the ceremony from the infield. Nen, accompanied by his wife and two daughters, even made his exit in a San Francisco fire truck, waving at fans before the game.
The Giants also presented him with a new golf cart that plays his tune.
The 35-year-old Nen, who had 43 saves and a 2.20 ERA in 2002 to help the Giants win the NL pennant, played through pain during the playoffs that season. He knew he was risking further damage.
The Giants fell six outs short of a championship. Nen has repeatedly said he has no regrets.
"What am I going to change?" he said. "My job was to pitch. When you get between the lines, adrenaline always takes over."
Nen had four straight 40-save seasons and seven in a row with 30 or more saves. He won a World Series ring with Florida in 1997, then spent his final seven years with San Francisco.
"Robb is one of my favorite teammates ever, and I've played on a lot of teams with a lot of guys," said Giants outfielder Moises Alou, who was on the Marlins with Nen. "He went down fighting. He wanted the ball."
Nen notched 314 career saves in 10 major-league seasons and is one of 19 pitchers to reach the 300 mark -- and he was the youngest pitcher to do it at age 32 in 2002.
While he has been golfing a lot and enjoying more quality time with his family at their Orange County home, the transition into retirement has been strange.