Greer hasn't played in 3 years due to injury

Updated: February 22, 2005, 2:43 AM ET
Associated Press

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Nearly three years after playing his last game for the Texas Rangers, outfielder Rusty Greer has given up his comeback attempt and announced his retirement.

Rusty Greer
Greer

Greer's all-out, aggressive style made him a fan favorite during his nine playing seasons (1994-2002) that included the team's only three AL West titles. That also led to the multiple injuries and surgeries that ended his career.

Texas declined Greer's 2005 contract option in October, making him a free agent. The Rangers, however, were interested in him coming to spring training on a minor league contract.

"Rusty had a great career," Rangers manager Buck Showalter said Sunday. "He could really show his consistency over a 162-game season. He was a great competitor and did things the right way, on and off the field."

Greer, who turned 36 last month, said he retired because he didn't know if he could make it through another season physically. He also wanted to spend more time with his family, including three young children.

Minnesota and Tampa Bay had also expressed interest in Greer.

Greer was a .305 career hitter in 1,027 games. He averaged 146 games a year from 1995-99, and his three 100-RBI seasons coincided with the Rangers' three division titles (1996, 1998 and 1999).

"He was blessed with a lot of things other players don't have," Showalter said. "He played hard, but he never took himself too serious. He was a voice of calm and reality."

His offensive production and highlight-reel catches made him one of the team's most consistent performers.

But all that hard play took a cumulative toll on his body. He's been through numerous surgeries since 2000, including procedures on his left rotator cuff and his right ankle. He also had surgery to relieve a pinched nerve and to fuse two vertebrae in his neck.

His last game was a defensive replacement July 11, 2002. That was his first appearance more than a month after making two diving catches in a game against the Kansas City Royals.

Greer collected $21.8 million from 2002-2004 as part of a contract extension he signed in 2001. He received a $600,000 buyout from the Rangers, instead of the $8.1 million option for 2005.


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press