It wasn't the way he wanted to go out, but Jason LaRue tells Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he has played his last game in the majors. LaRue suffered a severe concussion when he was kicked in the head by Johnny Cueto during the Cardinals/Reds brawl last month, and doesn't want to risk further head injuries by continuing his career.
"I'm done. It's a simple decision," LaRue said. "As a catcher you're so vulnerable to getting another (concussion). All it takes a foul ball to the head. Even as a backup that happened 3-5 times last year. It's not a question of if it would happen again, it's when. Nobody can guarantee anything. It'll probably be worse."
According to Strauss, friends of LaRue say the 36-year-old was considering taking legal action against Cueto for the on-field assault, but ultimately decided against it. Still, he's disappointed with the way his career had to end: "I was going to retire on my own terms.... Does it suck that my career is over because Johnny Cueto started kicking me in the head? Yes, it sucks."
Although he played in just 29 games this season, LaRue hit .231/.315/.396 in 3103 career plate appearances, spending time with the Reds, Royals, and Cardinals. According to Baseball-Reference, the backstop earned $19.44MM over the course of his 12-year career.