Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Updated: April 20, 8:36 AM ET
Ivan Rodriguez set to retire
Former Texas Rangers catcher Ivan Rodriguez will announce his retirement Monday at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas, after 21 major league seasons.
Rodriguez and the club confirmed plans Thursday. The Rangers plan to honor the All-Star catcher with an on-field ceremony before facing the New York Yankees. Rodriguez will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
Rodriguez, who won the 1999 American League MVP and went to 10 straight All-Star Games with the Rangers, was not able to find a job this spring. The 40-year-old affectionately known as "Pudge" began his two-decade-plus major league career with the Rangers in 1991.
Rodriguez was also a four-time All-Star with the Detroit Tigers and won a World Series as a member of the 2003 Florida Marlins.
Rodriguez signed with the Marlins after spending all or parts of 12 seasons with the Rangers. He returned to Texas in 2009 when the Rangers acquired him after catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia was injured late in the season.
Rodriguez was part of three AL West champion teams in Texas in 1996, 1998 and 1999. He hit .332 with 35 homers and 113 RBIs and stole 25 bases during his MVP season.
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.
Rodriguez spent the past two seasons with the Washington Nationals. He decided 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, Rodriguez was tainted by the cloud of baseball's steroids scandal. Former Texas teammate Jose Canseco alleged 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."
Information from ESPNDallas.com's Richard Durrett and The Associated Press contributed to this report.