Suzuki mulling over his future in baseball

Suzuki mulling over his future in baseball

CHICAGO -- Twins manager Paul Molitor said he met with veteran catcher Kurt Suzuki earlier this week to tell him he won't catch any more games this season.

Suzuki, who turns 33 on Tuesday, has been solid this year, hitting .258/.301/.403 with eight homers, 24 doubles and 49 RBIs in 106 games, but has struggled this month and had stitches inserted into his chin for a second time this year on Sept. 14. Suzuki is headed toward free agency, and Molitor said it's likely weighed on Suzuki in September.

"It's been as awkward a month for him as anybody in that clubhouse potentially playing out into free agency as a catcher in your early 30s," Molitor said. "I'm sure he's thinking about a lot of different scenarios."

Suzuki, who hit .294 in the first half but has batted .209 since the All-Star break, admitted it has been tough knowing it could be his last season with the Twins. Suzuki joined the club in 2014 on a one-year deal before inking a two-year extension at the 2014 non-waiver Trade Deadline. He was hopeful the Twins would be contenders this year, but it obviously didn't play out that way.

"I think the most difficult part is you're in last place and there's a lot of uncertainty about your future," Suzuki said. "But I've been around this game long enough to know that happens. I've had a pretty decent year. I feel like I still have a lot left. So you can take your time and see what happens next. I still love playing."

Suzuki said he fully plans to play again next year, but wouldn't completely rule out retiring, depending on what kind of offers he gets this offseason. He said he'd like to play for a team that will give him a chance to win a World Series ring, but also indicated he'd prefer to stay on the West Coast near his home in Redondo Beach, Calif.

"It's a part of it," Suzuki said. "I think winning and being closer to my family geographically because my daughter has started kindergarten now. But at the same time, you don't get many opportunities to wear the uniform so you have to take what you're given. I have to see what kind of options are out there. I can't pick and choose the way a guy like Jonathan Lucroy would."

Suzuki said he also hasn't ruled out a return with the Twins, but that there are no guarantees the potential new front office under Derek Falvey would want him back. He said he enjoyed his time in Minnesota, as he was a first-time All-Star in 2014 when the game was held at Target Field and played on a contender last year.

"I've had a blast here," Suzuki said. "My wife and kids had a blast here. We lived on lakes each of the last three years. It's one of those things where either my time is up here or it's not. You can't really control those things. Not knowing what the future will hold isn't easy. But I got to go to an All-Star Game and my second son was born here. So we have a lot of memories here."

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.