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Sweeny: Former Yankee Nick Johnson Retires, Ends Career Too Soon

Nick Johnson (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Nick Johnson (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

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By Sweeny Murti
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Former Yankee Nick Johnson has decided to retire, plagued by a wrist injury that required multiple surgeries over the last few years.  Often injured, Johnson spent parts of 10 seasons in the majors but played in only 832 games.  Always possessing a good eye for the strike zone, Johnson retires with a .399 lifetime on-base percentage.

Johnson played for the Yankees from 2001-2003 and again in 2010.  His best years were with Washington in 2005 and 2006. He posted a combined .290/.419/.501 with 81 doubles and 38 home runs over those two seasons.  He missed all of 2007 and most of 2008 as he recovered from a broken leg that he suffered at Shea Stadium late in the 2006 season.

After a healthy 2009, the right wrist injury limited Johnson to only 24 games in 2010 when he returned to the Yankees.  After surgery on the wrist Johnson missed all of 2011 before coming back with the Orioles in 2012.  After starting the season 0-for-26, Johnson hit .295/.403/.557 in May and June before aggravating the wrist injury.

Johnson had drawn a little interest from teams this offseason, but he ultimately decided to retire.

“It’s time to hang them up,” Johnson said.  “My wrist can’t take it any longer.”

For now, Johnson plans on spending time with his family in California, but he may consider coaching in the future.

My two cents:  Yankees fans will remember Johnson as the guy who just couldn’t stay healthy.  While that’s certainly true, he should also be remembered as a guy who really liked doing only one thing — play baseball.  Unfortunately, the injuries never let him do that on a regular basis for any good length of time.  But you can see by the numbers in Washington what he was capable of when healthy.  Still only 34, he should be clearing 2,000 hits right now.  Sadly, he never got close.  A lot of guys have wasted their talent.  Unfortunately, Johnson just never got a full opportunity to showcase his.

Follow Sweeny Murti on Twitter @YankeesWFAN.

What is your favorite memory of Johnson in pinstripes? Share your thoughts and comments in the section below…