Veteran First Baseman, Who Is In Final Year Of His Contract, Has Been Besieged By Injuries Over Last Few Seasons


NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — On Friday afternoon, Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira took center stage at Yankee Stadium to formally announce his decision to retire at the end of the 2016 season.

“After 14 seasons, it’s time for me to do something else,” Teixeira announced to the room filled with his teammates, coaches and reporters. “And after this season, I’m going to retire and do something else.”

Teixeira said that he made the decision to retire “a couple of weeks ago” shortly after hitting his 400th home run in San Diego.

Weighing heavily into the decision was the fact that it’s been a constant struggle for Teixeira to stay healthy throughout this year and the last several seasons. After playing in 158 games in the 2011 season, Teixeira missed 276 out of a possible 648 games between the 2012 and 2015 season, meaning injury kept him out of nearly 43 percent of the team’s games during that four-year stretch.

“I got to live out my dream and had more success than I could ever imagine, but it just felt like it was the right time for me to step away from the game.”

Coming off of a stellar, bounce-back 2015 campaign in which he hit 31 homers and drove in 79 runs but still only played 111 games, Teixeira declared that he envisioned himself playing baseball for five more years until his 40th birthday.

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As CBS2’s Steve Overmyer reported, injuries finally caught up with him. Teixeira will walk away from the game at the conclusion of this season at the age of 36 after 14 MLB seasons.

“As the season went on I just kind of realized that my body can’t do it anymore,” Teixeira explained. “And if I’m going to grind through seasons not being healthy, I’d rather be home with my family, I’d rather do something else. I miss my kids way too much to be in a training room in Detroit rather than being at their dance recital or their school play.”

While Teixeira seemed at peace with his decision to retire, oftentimes he was overcome with emotion; especially when he addressed Yankees fans.

“I gave you everything I had,” Teixeira tearfully stated. “It wasn’t always enough, but I tried my best, and I’m proud to have a World Series ring with the Yankees — something I’ll never forget.”

Teixeira joined the Yankees prior to the 2009 season after signing an eight-year, $180 million contract. He excelled during his first season in New York, batting .292 with 39 homers and 122 RBI, finishing second in AL MVP voting. The Yankees went on to win the World Series, their first title since 2000.

He’ll also be remembered for being one of the best switch-hitters in the game and is one of just five players in MLB history to have hit 400 home runs as a switch-hitter.

Teixeira has played for four teams during his 14-year career, and has a .269 average with 404 homers and 1,281 RBI. Long revered for his defensive play, Teixeira has won five Gold Glove awards, including three with the Yankees.

Stay with CBSNewYork.com for more on this developing story.