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MLB: Veteran DH Lance Berkman Retires
Photo Credit: Getty Images

MLB: Veteran DH Lance Berkman Retires

Jan 29 2014, 10:58pm CST | by

Veteran designated hitter Lance Berkman announced his retirement on Jan. 29 after 15 seasons in the majors due to a lingering right knee injury issue.

Veteran designated hitter Lance Berkman has retired after 15 MLB seasons. Berkman told Richard Justice of MLB.com on Jan. 29 "it doesn't make sense" to play through a right knee injury which is...

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11 weeks ago

MLB: Veteran DH Lance Berkman Retires

Jan 29 2014, 10:58pm CST | by

MLB: Veteran DH Lance Berkman Retires Photo Credit: Getty Images

Veteran designated hitter Lance Berkman announced his retirement on Jan. 29 after 15 seasons in the majors due to a lingering right knee injury issue.

Veteran designated hitter Lance Berkman has retired after 15 MLB seasons. 

Berkman told Richard Justice of MLB.com on Jan. 29 "it doesn't make sense" to play through a right knee injury which is still giving him fits. Justice narrates the details:

"Lance Berkman has decided to retire, he told MLB.com on Wednesday afternoon. 

"'It doesn't make sense to play in the physical condition I'm in,' Berkman said. 

"Berkman has had continuing problems with his right knee, the same injury that limited him to 73 games for the Rangers last season. 

"'I'm not going to keep trying to run out there for the heck of it,' Berkman said."

Berkman echoed the same sentiment in an interview with KRIV-TV of Houston, Tex.:

"Just physically I've gotten to the point where I don't feel like I can compete at a level that I'm used to competing at. I could probably still drag my carcass out there, but I'm not interested in doing that...I don't want to hang on just to hang on." 

Justice reveals Berkman actually planned to play in 2014 -- in what would have been his 16th major-league season -- but eventually decided against it. 

Berkman told MLB.com he's at peace with his decision. 

"I think I'm actually glad about it. I'm excited about that next chapter in my life. I'm looking forward to spending more time with my family, and at some point, I'll definitely coach somewhere." 

The Houston Astros released a statement about Berkman's retirement via ESPN. Berkman played for 12 seasons (1999-2009, 2010) for the Astros.  

"Lance was one of the greatest players in Astros history, and we are absolutely open to honoring him this season now that he has announced his retirement. We will communicate with Lance in the upcoming days to get his thoughts on this, and hope to schedule something that will give the fans the chance to recognize his outstanding career."

According to The Associated Press, "The (Texas) Rangers declined their $12 million contract option for 2014 last October, which got Berkman a $1 million buyout." He appeared in 68 of his 73 games with the Rangers in 2013 prior to July 7, the day he went on the disabled list for a left hip inflammation and his sore right knee. 

Berkman attended Rice University and was originally selected 16th overall by the Astros in the 1997 MLB Draft. His first 11 seasons were spent in Houston before being dealt at midseason in 2010 to the New York Yankees, per BaseballAmerica.com 

He then signed with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2011, batting .301/.412/.547 and helping the team win the World Series. 

His right knee issues surfaced in 2012, forcing him to play in just 32 games for St. Louis before returning to the Astros in 2013 in what turned out to be his final MLB season. 

He gave Justice his parting shot at the end of his MLB.com interview:

"I had a great career. I did everything anyone could have set out to do. I'm looking forward to seeing what's next." 

Berkman had a lifetime batting average of .293 for 1,905 hits, 366 home runs and 1,234 RBIs in 1,879 career games, according to ESPN stats

 

 

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Poch de la Rosa follows all major U.S. sports: NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and the NCAA. His favorite teams are the Colts, Braves, Pacers, Sharks and Irish, respectively.

 

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