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Wednesday, February 7, 2007
Updated: February 8, 10:36 AM ET
Castilla officially retires from baseball

Associated Press

CAROLINA, Puerto Rico -- A little more than four months after playing his last game in the major leagues, Vinny Castilla officially retired from baseball on Wednesday.

Vinny Castilla

Castilla played first base in Mexico's 4-3 victory over Venezuela on the last day of the Caribbean Series. He went 1-for-4, with a double and a run scored.

"I knew it was my last game, but I got emotional when I came to the park and all my teammates came to congratulate me," the 39-year old slugger said while trying to hold back tears after the game.

"When the players from the other countries hugged me after the game, I couldn't hold back the tears. I felt very emotional and proud for all my accomplishment."

Castilla is Mexico's all-time leading home-run hitter in the majors, with 320 homers in a 16-season career with Atlanta, Colorado, Tampa Bay, Houston, Washington and San Diego.

Colorado claimed him off waivers last season so he could retire in a Rockies uniform.

The third baseman had his best years with the Rockies, with four consecutive seasons (1996-99) with more than 30 home runs and 100 RBIs. His best year was 1999, when he had career highs with a .319 average, 46 home runs and 144 RBIs.

"I left everything on the field and always respected the game," he said.

Castilla said recently during the Series that he will work as a special assistant to Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd, and will pursue a coaching or managing career in the future.