623113 Pudge Set To Announce Retirement With Rangers

Ivan Rodriguez of the Texas Rangers tips his hat from the field during the game against the Toronto Blue Jays at the Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico. (credit: Al Bello/Allsport)

ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – Ivan Rodriguez plans to announce his retirement on Monday, ending a 21-year major league career that included a record 13 Gold Gloves at catcher.

A person familiar with the arrangements said that Rodriguez intends to make the announcement in Arlington, where the Rangers start a homestand on Monday against the New York Yankees — one of Rodriguez’s former teams. Rangers officials later confirmed the report through an emailed press release, saying that an official news conference will be held at 2:00 p.m. Monday at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. That will be followed by a special on-field ceremony before Monday night’s game, where Rodriguez will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

The 14-time All-Star, known affectionately as Pudge, spent his first 12 major league seasons with the Rangers and won the 1999 American League MVP with Texas, when he hit .332 with 35 homers and 113 RBIs. He returned to the Rangers briefly in 2009.

Rodriguez becomes the third longtime catcher to retire since last season ended, joining Jorge Posada and Jason Varitek.

Rodriguez finishes with a .296 batting average, 2,884 hits, 311 home runs and 1,332 RBIs. He broke the record of 10 Gold Gloves at catcher that had been held by Johnny Bench and hit .300 or better 10 times. He was a World Series champion with the Florida Marlins in 2003.

Now 40, Rodriguez spent the last two seasons with the Washington Nationals. He opted not to accept a contract offer from the Kansas City Royals, who were interested after Salvador Perez injured a knee and needed surgery. Rodriguez hit just .218 last year with two homers and 19 RBIs in 124 at-bats. He nearly was forced to retire three years ago. He didn’t have an offer when spring training began, but went 10 for 20 with two homers and six RBIs for Puerto Rico, and signed in mid-March with the Houston Astros.

In the minds of some fans, Rodriguez was tainted by the cloud of baseball’s steroids scandal. Former Texas teammate Jose Canseco alleged that he injected steroids into Rodriguez. Asked whether he was on the list of players who allegedly tested positive for steroids during baseball’s 2003 survey, Rodriguez said in 2009, “Only God knows.”

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