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Jeter set to call it a career after 2014

2:52 PM, Feb 12, 2014   |    comments
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(SportsNetwork.com) - Derek Jeter is apparently set to call it a career.

The New York Yankees shortstop wrote a letter on his Facebook page Wednesday, saying he will retire after the 2014 season.

"I could not be more sure," the Yankees captain wrote in a thank you letter. "I know it in my heart. The 2014 season will be my last year playing professional baseball."

Jeter battled through an injury-plagued 2013 season, appearing in only 17 games because of a myriad of problems. It all began with the broken ankle he sustained in Game 1 of the 2012 ALCS against Detroit the previous October and continued when the ankle was fractured again in the spring.

The 39-year-old veteran didn't make his season debut until July 11 against Kansas City, then suffered a quad strain later in the game that kept him out another two weeks. After returning on July 28, a calf strain sidelined him for most of August and he was finally shut down in early September because of the numerous ailments.

In the aftermath, Jeter called it a frustrating season. He batted only .190 with a home run and seven runs batted in.

"Last year was a tough one for me," Jeter wrote. "As I suffered through a bunch of injuries, I realized that some of the things that always came easily to me and were always fun had started to become a struggle. The one thing I always said to myself was that when baseball started to feel more like a job, it would be time to move forward.

"So really it was months ago when I realized that this season would likely be my last. As I came to this conclusion and shared it with my friends and family, they all told me to hold off saying anything until I was absolutely 100% sure."

Jeter's last full season of 2012 was brilliant. It featured 216 hits, a .316 batting average and 15 homers in a career-high-tying 159 games. He is a career .312 hitter in 2,602 games over 19 big league seasons and is ninth on baseball's all-time hits list with 3,316.

"For the last 20 years, I've been completely focused on two goals: playing my best and helping the Yankees win. That means that for 365 days a year, my every thought and action were geared toward that goal. It's now time for something new."

The 13-time All-Star will be the remaining player from the "Core Four," the group that helped the Yankees to five World Series titles since 1996. Jorge Posada retired following the 2011 season, while pitchers Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera called it quits after the 2013 campaign.

Rivera had a whirlwind retirement tour last season. He was honored with gifts at every visiting ballpark and had a sensational moment at the All-Star Game across town in Queens when he took the mound without anyone else on the field and acknowledged an ovation from both teams and the fans at Citi Field.

Now, it's Jeter's turn.

"In the 21-plus years in which I have served as commissioner, Major League Baseball has had no finer ambassador than Derek Jeter," said MLB commissioner Bud Selig in a statement Wednesday. "Since his championship rookie season of 1996, Derek has represented all the best of the national pastime on and off the field. He is one of the most accomplished and memorable players of his -- or any -- era.

"Derek is the kind of person that generations have emulated proudly, and he remains an exemplary face of our sport. Major League Baseball looks forward to celebrating his remarkable career throughout the 2014 season."

Jeter signed a one-year, $12 million contract for the 2014 season in November and will be part of a Yankees team that is trying to make a return to the postseason. New York failed to reach the playoffs for only the second time since Jeter broke into the majors in 1996.

The Yankees won the World Series in his rookie season, a year in which he won the AL Rookie of the Year. Other honors throughout his stellar career include the All-Star Game MVP and World Series MVP in 2000. He won the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Awards five times each, and was the runner-up for the AL MVP in 2006.

The Sports Network

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