Jody Gerut is hanging up his cleats for good.
The 33-year-old outfielder and only known professional athlete who subscribes to The Economist inked a minor league contract with the Mariners over the winter, but he told a group of reporters on Sunday morning in spring camp that he no longer had the desire to continue playing.
Shannon Drayer of ESPN 710 AM and MyNorthwest.com called Gerut’s retirement press conference “incredible” and transcribed some of the speech:
“I can no longer in good conscious play the game in the manner that reflects the positive example for the younger generation of baseball players. Physically I am fine, but mentally my reasons for being in uniform have been so thin and narrow that I refuse to disrespect the game that has provided so generously for my family by playing it in a half hearted way. This game owes me nothing. But I owe the game at least that much. When a player finds his willingness to compete to be so greatly diminished that player must leave the game so as not to disrespect it by becoming a player who plays solely for his paycheck and his own personal glory.
Hard to argue with any of that. Gerut will finish up with a .262/.325/.433 career slash line and 472 career hits. He played six major league seasons, spending time with the Indians, Cubs, Pirates, Padres and Brewers.
The Yankees and Astros are set for Game 7 of the American League Championship Series on Saturday, and neither team will hold back as they seek a World Series berth. The Astros are prepared to back starter Charlie Morton with any able-bodied pitcher in their ranks — including Justin Verlander, though A.J. Hinch said it would be a “dream scenario” to get anything more from his ace — while the Yankees are prepared to utilize all but a few of their arms. One pitcher you won’t see? Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, who last took the hill for the Yankees during their Game 5 shutout on Wednesday.
Tanaka expended 103 pitches over seven scoreless innings in his last start, fending off the Astros with three hits, a walk and eight strikeouts. He hasn’t pitched on fewer than three days of rest all year, and even with a do-or-die scenario facing the Yankees on Saturday night, manager Joe Girardi doesn’t want to compromise his starter’s ability to stay rested and ready for the World Series.
Girardi will also play it safe with fellow right-hander Sonny Gray, who dominated in a five-inning performance in Game 4. All other pitchers should be available and ready to go, though the club is hoping for a lengthy outing from veteran starter CC Sabathia. Sabathia is no stranger to the postseason: over eight separate playoff runs, he touts one championship title and a collective 4.24 ERA in 123 innings. He held the Astros scoreless in his Game 3 start, blanking them over six innings on three hits, four walks and five strikeouts for an eventual 8-1 win.
Even without Tanaka or Gray likely to take the mound for Game 7, the Yankees will enter the series finale with history on their side. Per MLB.com, they have a 4-3 road record in Game 7s and are 6-7 in all 13 Game 7 finales to date. The Astros, on the other hand, dropped their first and only Game 7 clincher back in 2004, when the Cardinals capped the NLCS with a 5-2 win in St. Louis. The teams are scheduled to face off for the first-ever Game 7 at Minute Maid Park on Saturday at 8:00 PM ET.