Furcal retires, thanks Royals for opportunity

Furcal retires, thanks Royals for opportunity

KANSAS CITY -- Fourteen-year veteran Rafael Furcal retired suddenly on Monday night, moments before he was to be promoted to Triple-A Omaha.

Furcal, who had recently been promoted to Double-A Northwest Arkansas, has been dealing with a hamstring and back issue and informed the Royals that he was considering "shutting it down."

Furcal made it official on Tuesday.

"To play in the Major Leagues for 14 seasons was a dream come true," Furcal said in a statement. "I love the game, but at this point, I don't feel like I can play up to my standards anymore and want to spend more time with my beautiful family. I really appreciate the opportunity Dayton Moore and the Kansas City Royals provided me this year."

Furcal, 37, signed a Minor League contract with the Royals after Spring Training had started.

"I had the honor of representing Raffy for his whole 18-year career," agent Paul Kinzer said. "Baseball lost one of its classiest players today; someone who played the game the right way."

Furcal, 37, spent a majority of his big league career with Atlanta (2000-05) and the Los Angeles Dodgers (2006-11), hitting .281 with 311 doubles, 113 homers and 1,063 runs scored. Furcal was the 2000 National League Rookie of the Year, and also was a three-time All-Star (2003, '10, '12).

Furcal played on 10 teams that reached the postseason, and helped the St. Louis Cardinals win the World Series in 2011 after he was traded by the Dodgers in midseason. Furcal spent '12 with the Cardinals, didn't play in the Majors in '13, and closed out his career with nine games in Miami last season. His 1,817 big league hits rank 46th all-time among Major League shortstops.

The Royals have talked to Furcal about whether he would be interested in staying in the game in some capacity.

Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.