Rasmussen announces retirement from game

'I'm ready to start the next chapter for myself,' lefty says of decision

Rasmussen announces retirement from game

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Rob Rasmussen woke up on Monday morning with a purpose.

"Today's the day," he told himself. "Today's the day that I'm ready to finally strap it on and commit to it."

Rasmussen decided to retire from baseball, despite being 26 years old and having a 40-man-roster spot with a Major League team. He pitched four innings this spring with five strikeouts and a 6.75 ERA.

Angels Spring Training info

The Angels announced Rasmussen's decision on Tuesday morning, by which point the young lefty reliever was driving back to his native Southern California to begin his next chapter in earnest. Rasmussen has one class left -- online Spanish -- to complete a bachelor's degree in history, with a minor in economics, from UCLA.

After that, he hopes to get a Masters of Business Administration.

He's at peace with the reality of never playing professional baseball again.

"I wouldn't have left if I was worried about it, or if I thought I was going to look back and wonder," Rasmussen said in a phone conversation. "This is not a spur-of-the-moment decision. It's something that had been thought about, and thought about for a long time."

A second-round Draft pick by the Marlins in 2010, Rasmussen suited up for five professional organizations before the Angels picked him off waivers from the Mariners -- their Tuesday opponent -- this past December.

Rasmussen started giving serious thought to retirement all the way back to last June, and his performance down the stretch -- 17 earned runs in 14 1/3 innings with the Mariners in August and September -- indicated as much.

Signing with the Angels, a team he watched win the 2002 World Series, made him decide to give baseball thing another chance.

"I figured it was worth a shot, and I figured that if anything, this would be a place where I could enjoy it and really go and give it a whirl," Rasmussen said. "As spring progressed, for as great as everyone was, as much as I enjoyed the organization, it wasn't there. My desire to play wasn't there. I didn't want to replicate what I did last year when I was one foot in, one foot out."

Rasmussen is actually the second player from Angels' camp to retire this spring. Andrew Brown, a 31-year-old journeyman outfielder, hung it up in late February to spend more time with his family.

Rasmussen's baseball career ended with 30 appearances in the Major Leagues and a lifetime of memories. He'll take a couple of weeks off, then start studying for the Graduate Management Admission Test that is required for MBA courses.

"I knew it was the right thing for me," Rasmussen said. "It's not the right thing for everyone, and I don't expect everyone to understand it, and that's OK. But it was the right thing for me, and I am very much at peace with it and I'm ready to start that next chapter for myself."

Worth noting

Andrelton Simmons was the designated hitter on Monday and wasn't in the starting lineup on Tuesday, a day when basically all of the other everyday players suited up. Simmons' arm remains sore, an issue that plagued him earlier in camp. But Angels manager Mike Scioscia is confident Simmons "will be ready to go." He's expected to start at shortstop on Wednesday. Simmons is 7-for-25 at the plate.

Albert Pujols started his seventh game at designated hitter on Tuesday and has yet to play first base in a game, though he has done defensive work since the start of camp. Scioscia expects Pujols to play first base in a few games before the Angels finish their Cactus League schedule, saying: "I think he's close. He's shown good moving around. We're going to tread lightly with that."

• The Angels have sent starting-pitching prospects Victor Alcantara and Nate Smith back to Minor League camp. Smith, ranked third in the Angels' system by MLBPipeline.com, gave up eight runs on 11 hits in 4 1/3 innings, but pitched two innings of one-run ball while starting in Jered Weaver's place on Monday. Alcanta, ranked fourth, gave up three runs in five innings and Scioscia called him "probably the most improved pitcher in camp."

• Angels catcher Geovany Soto was a late scratch from the starting lineup on Tuesday due to a sore throwing arm, prompting Jett Bandy to start in his place. Scioscia expects Soto to return behind the plate on Thursday. Soto was sore after some throwing drills, but entered the game later as a designated hitter, ultimately hitting a game-tying sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth. Carlos Perez was already scheduled to catch on Wednesday.

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