Kevin Youkilis opts for retirement at age 35


After being limited to 21 games in Japan last season due to plantar fasciitis, Kevin Youkilis chose to call it a career Thursday, announcing his retirement at age 35.

Affectionately known as “Yoooouuuuukkkk” during his Red Sox tenure, Youkilis didn’t have a particularly long MLB career, but he did mix in a three-year run as one of the AL’s best players, hitting .308/.404/.560 with 75 homers from 2008-10. Only Albert Pujols (1.078) and Manny Ramirez (.970) had better OPSs than Youkilis .964 mark during that span. He finished third in the AL MVP balloting in 2008 and sixth in 2009.

Youkilis was also part of two World Series winners in Boston, though he had only a bit role as a rookie in 2004. In 2007, he hit .500 with three homers and 10 runs scored in the seven-game ALCS victory over the Indians and then went 2-for-12 in the sweep of the Rockies in the World Series. Overall, he was a .306/.376/.568 hitter with six homers in 29 postseason games.

Unfortunately, Youkilis’ body just didn’t hold up in his 30’s. From 2010-2013, he played in 102, 120, 122 and 28 games. The Red Sox traded him to the White Sox in July 2012. A bulging disc in his back cost him most of 2013 with the Yankees, and he was unable to rejoin his Japanese team last season after the foot problems. He initially said he wasn’t sure whether he’d go back to Japan or seek a return to MLB in 2015.

Youkilis finishes his career a .281/.382/.478 hitter with 150 homers and 618 RBI in 1,061 games. None too shabby for a bad-bodied third baseman who lasted until the eighth round in the 2001 draft.