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Ben Sheets will retire after Wednesday's start

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Ben Sheets will make his final Major League appearance on Wednesday, when he starts against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Scott Cunningham - Getty Images

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Ben Sheets announced that he will retire following Wednesday's start against the Pittsburgh Pirates, marking the end of one of baseball's more improbable comebacks in recent memory.

Sheets signed with the Braves July 1, and made his Braves debut on July 15, almost two full years after his most recent Major League appearance (July 19, 2010).

Sheets underwent his second Tommy John surgery in Aug. 2010, and missed the entire 2011 season. Many believed Sheets would be ineffective even if he were able to return, but Sheets defied the odds and pitched well for the Braves in 2012.

Unfortunately for Sheets, he was placed on the disabled list on Aug. 25, with inflammation in his right shoulder. Sheets pitched well for the Braves, and carries a 4-4 record, 3.54 ERA and 1.34 WHIP into his final start in 2012.

Wednesday's start will be the 250th and final start of Sheets' career. Sheets needs to throw just four and a third innings to log 1,600 career innings. A master of control, Sheets has struck out 1,323 in his career against just 369 walks. Sheets' career record stands at 94-96, with a 3.78 ERA and 1.22 WHIP.

Had Sheets remained healthy throughout his career, he could have turned in one of the finer pitching careers of the current era. Baseball fans were unfairly robbed of a career that could have been so much more.

Here's hoping Sheets goes out a winner on Wednesday.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.