Angels catcher Kurt Suzuki to retire, ending 16-year career

ARLINGTON, Texas >> Kurt Suzuki’s kids let him know that the time had come to retire.

“They used to be excited to watch me on TV,” the Angels catcher, who graduated from Maui’s Baldwin High School, said today. “Now they want me at home. That’s kind of when you know. I’ve said from the beginning, family is always first. That comes first no matter what. The game will tell you, but also your family will tell you.”

Suzuki, 38, revealed what many had suspected when he said that he is planning to call it a career at the end of this season.

Angels manager Phil Nevin had hinted at Suzuki’s retirement over the weekend, but Suzuki hadn’t revealed the news himself until today.

“I feel like it’s time,” Suzuki said. “I’ve had a great run, won a World Series, All-Star Game. Played 16 seasons. I’ve accomplished a lot of things I never would have dreamed of. I felt like it’s time for the next chapter. My three kids, all they’ve known is baseball.”

Born and raised in Hawaii, Suzuki played at Cal State Fullerton. He won a World Series with the Washington Nationals in 2019 and appeared in an All-Star Game representing the Minnesota Twins in 2014. He has a .255 batting average and a .702 OPS. He has played 1,632 games with the Oakland A’s, Nationals, Twins, Atlanta Braves and Angels.

Suzuki started his career with the A’s, and he will end it in Oakland. Suzuki is expected to start one of the Angels’ games in Oakland in the season-ending three-game series.

Before the schedule was reworked because of the lockout, that series was supposed to start the season.

“It’s kind of crazy how it worked out that way,” Suzuki said. “We were supposed to end at home, but now we’re ending in Oakland, where I began my career. It ended up pretty cool.”

Suzuki hasn’t played since Aug. 28, before a stint on the bereavement list. Since he came back, the Angels have given him some time to do some extra work to make up for the time he’s missed. They have used that time to get a look at Matt Thaiss behind the plate.

Although Suzuki’s career is ending with a disappointing offensive season — he is hitting .179 with a .562 OPS — he is still considered a positive influence in the clubhouse, particularly with the pitchers and young catchers.

“He means a lot to this organization,” Nevin said. “He’s been a great teammate here for a couple of years. He’s not going to be away from baseball, I can tell you that. He’s going to be a big part of it, whether he’s doing the same thing I’m doing or in the front office. He’s too good for this game.”

Suzuki, whose kids are 11, 8 and 6, said first he’s going to do some coaching in “Torrance Little League.” Beyond that, he’s open to some kind of role in the game. Suzuki’s relationship with Angles general manager Perry Minasian goes back to their days together with the Atlanta Braves, and he said he’d talk to Minasian about “wherever I can help out.”

NOTES

The Angels called up left-hander Rob Zastryzny (pronounced za-STRIZ-knee) and optioned right-hander José Marte. Zastryzny had allowed two earned runs in eight innings with Salt Lake since the Angels claimed him on waivers last month. He has a career 4.54 ERA in 35-2/3 innings with the Mets and Chicago Cubs. …

Left-hander Tucker Davidson, who will have nine days between starts when he takes the ball on Wednesday, said he used the extra time to change his delivery. Davidson said it’s a more repeatable delivery that should help him stay in line with the plate and improve his control. Davidson has walked 6.3 hitters per nine innings this season, with the Braves and Angels.

UP NEXT

Angels (LHP Tucker Davidson, 2-6, 6.96) at Rangers (RHP Dane Dunning, 3-8, 4.49), Wednesday, 5:05 p.m.

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Angels catcher Kurt Suzuki to retire, ending 16-year career