DETROIT -- A couple of the all-time "faces of the Texas Rangers franchise" talked by phone Wednesday morning.
Veteran Michael Young and retiring catcher Ivan Rodriguez chatted briefly as Rodriguez announced he would retire as a Ranger. The club has planned a ceremony prior to Monday's ESPN game with the Yankees to honor Rodriguez.
"He's excited about coming back and retiring as a Ranger," Young said. "It will be a great celebration. Our fans absolutely love Pudge. Knowing what a competitor he is, I'm sure he thinks he's got some baseball left in him. But it's still a Hall of Fame career nonetheless. I'm happy for him. It will be nice to see him and congratulate him. It will be fun out there Monday."
Young said he knows how much Rodriguez wanted to keep playing.
"Pudge is a gamer," Young said. "When he he was doing his thing in the '90s, not only was he putting up MVP numbers, but he was catching an insane amount of games. You don't see that nowadays. He's a gamer. He wants to go out there and play. But I think he recognized this was best for him and his family at this point. I'm happy for him. He's had an unbelievable career."
Rangers manager Ron Washington remembers advance meetings in Oakland in which they would stress to pitchers not to give Rodriguez anything he could extend on over the plate. And they warned baserunners about what Rodriguez could do, not only throwing them out on steal attempts but throwing behind them for pickoffs.
"He was the best I've sever seen," Washington said. "He had the quickest release and accuracy I've even seen. He was the scariest guy to have back there when you were at first base. He could beat up with the bat bigtime. He was a special catcher."