Longtime catcher Tyler Flowers announced his retirement just 10 days after signing a minor league contract with the Atlanta Braves.
The 35-year-old Flowers injured his back again last weekend and decided it was time to call it a career. He played his first seven seasons with the Chicago White Sox and his last five with the Braves.
But the last few seasons were painful due to two degenerative discs in Flowers’ back. He injured a third disc last weekend.
“I have another disc now that’s even worse than the other two,” Flowers told mlb.com. “Basically, it was going to take months of rehab and training to hopefully compensate for that issue that I have in my spine now from catching. For me, it just wasn’t worthwhile.”
Flowers batted .237 with 86 homers and 301 RBIs in 802 major league games.
He established career highs of 15 homers and 50 RBIs in 2014 for the White Sox. Last season, he batted .217 with one homer and five RBIs in 22 games for the Braves.
“You don’t appreciate guys like that enough until you don’t have him,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “I just think the presence that he had in the clubhouse, the stability that he added, the professionalism. He had a really, really strong, good career.
“He’s just a wonderful person, carried himself as a pro all the time. It’s a really good career — a really good career. Hopefully he stays around and helps us out.”
Flowers said he never envisioned lasting in the majors as long as he did.
“Honestly, it was beyond my dreams to play in the big leagues for 10 years,” Flowers said. “I always just wanted to make it to the first arbitration just to say I made it long enough in this game to get paid, which is more than a majority of people in this game can say. I never imagined to make it this far.”