Izturis calls it a career at Blue Jays camp

Veteran announces retirement after trying to rebound from injuries

Izturis calls it a career at Blue Jays camp

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Maicer Izturis wanted to give it one last shot, but the veteran infielder officially announced his retirement on Friday morning.

The 35-year-old Izturis reported to camp in February after signing a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training, trying to be optimistic about the possibility of playing another season.

The native of Venezuela went to the batting cage one last time Friday morning, and he then made his decision known with an impromptu scrum with the media. Izturis spent parts of 11 seasons in the big leagues, but he appeared in just 11 games over the last two years because of several major injuries.

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"I made the decision that my career is going to be over; I'm going to retire," Izturis said through interpreter Luis Rivera. "I put my heart, my soul and my body into it this year to see how I was going to feel, but my body couldn't handle it anymore. So I decided this is the last time I'm going to be playing baseball."

Izturis joined the Blue Jays on a three-year deal prior to the 2013 season. He went on to appear in 107 games that year. The following spring, he won the starting job at second base, but he tore the lateral collateral ligament in his left knee while going down the steps of the dugout at Camden Yards in Baltimore.

The injury ended Izturis' season before it began. The following spring, there was another opportunity to win the job at second, but a strained groin muscle put an end to those hopes. Izturis did not return, and when his contract expired at the end of the year, he had to settle for a Minor League deal.

Izturis' path to the big league club was not clear, even though he technically was competing for a job. Ryan Goins is the starter at second, and Darwin Barney is the backup. At some point, the Blue Jays hope to get Devon Travis back from a left shoulder injury.

"I played for 18 years, and there's nothing in particular that made me make the decision," Izturis said. "I'm 35 years old. I've been playing for so long. My mind and my soul wanted to do it, but my body wouldn't allow me to do it."

Izturis will be remembered the most for his time with the Angels. He spent eight years in Anaheim and went to the postseason three times. His career comes to an end with a .269 average, a .331 on-base percentage and a .703 OPS in 909 games.

"Izzy is one of the good guys," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "He came over here three years ago. He was injured a lot of the time here, but I know one thing he can look back on -- he was a winning player. He played the game the right way, he was on a lot of successful teams in Anaheim and he did things right. That's one thing that always stood out about him.

"He had some unfortunate injuries. The one thing that really hurt him was falling down the stairs in Baltimore that day. But he should hold his head high. He has had a tremendous career."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.