Former All-Star went home after one at-bat Friday

Updated: March 19, 2005, 12:03 AM ET
Associated Press

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Roberto Alomar went home after playing only one inning Friday night and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays said they would have an announcement concerning his future Saturday, leading to speculation that the 12-time All-Star was planning to retire.

Roberto Alomar
Second Base
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
56 4 24 18 0 .263

Alomar made two errors at second base and struck out looking in his only at-bat during a 5-4 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays, his first game since March 10 because of a back sprain. Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella said Alomar told him he was having trouble seeing.

"Robbie and I talked during the ballgame," Devil Rays general manager Chuck LaMar said. "Health-wise has been a real concern this year and I am sure we will have a statement and Robbie will tomorrow about his future with us."

Before the game, Alomar was smiling and very talkative in the clubhouse, but he left the ballpark before the end of the fifth inning. Team spokesman Rick Vaughn said he came out because he wasn't feeling well and then went home.

LaMar was asked if Alomar had already left Tampa Bay's spring training camp.

"No, absolutely not," LaMar said.

Contacted by The Associated Press on Friday night, Alomar's agent, Jaime Torres, declined to comment.

Trying to reach 3,000 hits and end his stellar career on a high note after a swift decline the past three seasons, Alomar agreed to a $600,000, one-year contract with the Devil Rays in January. The team penciled him in as the everyday second baseman and No. 2 hitter.

A 10-time Gold Glove winner and career .300 hitter, the 37-year-old Alomar is 276 hits shy of 3,000. He was an All-Star for 11 consecutive seasons from 1991-2001, but has struggled while batting .266, .258 and .263 the past three years.

In 2004, he missed two months with a broken right hand and finished with four homers and 24 RBI in 56 games for Arizona and the Chicago White Sox.

The St. Louis Cardinals also expressed interest in signing Alomar, but the opportunity to play regularly made Tampa Bay an attractive alternative for his 18th major league season.

When he signed, he said he thought he had two or three years of baseball left if he stayed healthy.

Alomar has batted .300 nine times in 17 seasons for San Diego, Toronto, Baltimore, Cleveland, Arizona, the White Sox and New York Mets. He's also one of just seven players in major league history with a .300 average, 400 steals and 500 doubles.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press