VIERA, Fla. -- Veteran outfielder Mike Cameron, who was expected to make the Nationals' roster as at least part of a center field platoon, has instead informed the club he will retire.
Cameron, 39, had a locker prepared at Space Coast Stadium, and his No. 44 jersey was hanging from it this morning as pitchers and catchers officially reported for spring training. The three-time Gold Glove Award winner, though, informed the Nationals of his decision before ever arriving in Viera, throwing something of a wrench into the club's short-term plans.
Though Cameron was due to participate in camp on a minor-league contract, he was expected to make the Opening Day roster and share the center field job with Rick Ankiel andor Roger Bernadina, serving as the right-handed half of a platoon. The Nationals now will either have to find another right-handed-hitting center fielder, let either Ankiel or Bernadina take the job outright or perhaps move Jayson Werth to center field (opening up right field for top prospect Bryce Harper).
A 17-year veteran with the White Sox, Reds, Mariners, Mets, Padres, Brewers, Red Sox and Marlins, Cameron finishes his career with a .249 average, 278 homers and 297 stolen bases.