Vazquez not retired but has no plan to return

Vazquez not retired but has no plan to return

Vazquez not retired but has no plan to return
MIAMI -- Whenever Javier Vazquez picks up a baseball these days, it's to play catch with his son at their home in Puerto Rico.

The desire to pitch in the big leagues is gone. At least, it has been since the end of the 2011 season, and the 35-year-old said on Monday that the "itch" hasn't returned.

Time away from the game hasn't changed his decision to remain at home with his family.

"I'm reserving the right to use that word retire, I guess." Vazquez said. "I'm not planning on playing, but I don't want to retire, because I don't want to say I'm retired and then come back. I want to make sure. Right now I'm not planning on coming back or anything."

Vazquez was at Marlins Park on Monday, interacting with his former teammates on the field. He received plenty of hugs and handshakes during batting practice.

The day actually was special for him, because he'd pitched for both the Marlins and their opponent, the Yankees.

Monday was the second of two days the teams met for exhibition games at Marlins Park.

The right-hander finished strong in 2011, his lone season as a Marlin. He went 5-0 with an 0.71 ERA in September, earning NL Pitcher of the Month honors.

For the year, he went 13-11 with a 3.69 ERA.

But rather than weigh free-agent options, Vazquez made it clear to Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria at the end of the campaign that he did not intend to pitch in 2012.

"The last three or four years, I've been thinking, 'When is going to be my time?'" he said. "I've always said I want to spend time with my family, and I want to see the kids grow up. I want to spend time with them. Right now I'm not missing it. That's why I'm here."

Vazquez has been spending his time in Puerto Rico playing tennis and exercising. The only throwing he does is with his son, who was also at Marlins Park on Monday.

Vazquez is spending a week of vacation in Miami, and he plans on attending the Miami Heat game against Oklahoma City on Wednesday.

Vazquez said that a couple of general managers, whom he didn't name, called him during the offseason to see if he would have a change of heart.

"I kept telling [my agent] I wasn't coming back," he said. "A couple of teams, a couple of GMs called me personally. I told them, 'Thank you, but I don't plan on coming back.' I spoke before to the season ended to Jeffrey. I told him what I planned on doing. They knew."

Vazquez likes what the Marlins have done in the offseason, picking up such stars as Jose Reyes.

"They've got a great team," Vazquez said. "I'm happy for the Marlins fans, and everybody here. The players. It's going to be a great season."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.