Rocco Baldelli told Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times that he will retire as a major league player. The former sixth overall pick will remain in the Rays front office as a special adviser in scouting and player development, the team has confirmed with a press release.
After a promising debut in which Baldelli played center field, stole 27 bases and added 51 extra base hits, the injuries started piling up. He missed the entire 2005 season and considerable chunks of the 2006-10 seasons as he dealt with foot, hamstring, and hip injuries, plus a type of channelopathy, which has caused muscle fatigue.
"It's tough, because you almost never put playing and being an athlete behind you," Baldelli told Topkin. "But in my mind, I already feel like it's a step behind me."
Baldelli, who is still just 29, decided to retire in October and spent a few months making sure he was ready to call it a career.