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Nelson Cruz retires from MLB

Designated hitter/right fielder Nelson Cruz announced his retirement from Major League Baseball after playing one season with the San Diego Padres. The 43-year-old player from the Dominican Republic played for eight teams in 19 seasons.

He confirmed his retirement during his recent appearance on The Adam Jones Podcast.

While he didn’t have a World Series title on his resume, Cruz has an impressive collection of individual awards. He was the Most Valuable Player of the 2011 American League Championship Series while playing for the Texas Rangers. Unfortunately, they lost the World Series to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Cruz was also an All-MLB First Team member in 2019 with the Minnesota Twins. A year later, he was included in the All-MLB Second Team. He is also a seven-time MLB All-Star and a four-time Silver Slugger awardee. Cruz also won the 2021 Roberto Clemente Award as the player who “best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement, and the individual's contribution to his team.”

He was also the 2017 American League leader for runs batted in (RBI) with 119. Cruz won the Edgar Martinez Award twice as the league’s best designated hitter.

Nelson Cruz started his MLB career with the Milwaukee Brewers. After suiting up for a few games in 2005, the Brewers traded him to the Rangers in 2006. He called Arlington home until 2013 and signed a one-year deal to play for the Baltimore Orioles the following year. Cruz led the league in home runs (40) that year.

The Seattle Mariners were the next team in his MLB journey. He signed a four-year, $57 million deal and played with the team from 2015 to 2018. Cruz joined the Minnesota Twins in 2019 and played for the club until he was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays in July 2021. He closed his MLB career with one-year stints with the Washington Nationals and the Padres.

He proudly represented the Dominican Republic in international competitions like the World Baseball Classic. He helped his nation win the 2013 WBC, an achievement that included him in that year’s All-World Baseball Classic team. Cruz served as player-manager for the Dominicans in the 2023 WBC.

-Lance Fernandez

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