The Los Angeles Angels gave catcher Kurt Suzuki a proper exit to his final Major League game on Tuesday against the Oakland Athletics, where his career began 15 years ago.
In the bottom of the first, Michael Lorenzen fired in a first pitch fastball which clipped the outer-half of the plate, and would be the final ball Suzuki would catch in MLB. Angels interim manager Phil Nevin took a mound visit, which allowed the 16-year veteran to soak in the moment with his teammates.
Suzuki was signed to the Angels following the 2020 season, and was a solid backstop for a club looking for a veteran piece. Although his numbers began to decline following his part in the Washington Nationals World Series Championship run, Tuesday’s gesture by the Angels felt like a perfect culmination, via Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com:
“It was special,” Suzuki said. “It was a pretty cool experience with the fans, obviously. This is where I started. They’re great and they’re into it. I loved the fans and will always love the fans. It was a special moment to walk off the field for the last time and catch my last pitch. It still hasn’t really hit me.”
Suzuki appeared in 123 games over two seasons for the Angels, drawing praise from center fielder, Mike Trout.
“Just a true professional,” Trout said. “I got to play with him for the last couple years and I’ve rarely seen him mad. He always brought that smile and that energy. Just an unbelievable teammate. A lot of people don’t see it because they’re not in the clubhouse, but what he means to the younger guys, the other catchers, even myself. Just how he handles himself and brings that positive and energy to the ballclub, you can’t teach that. It’s emotional for him because he’s played for a long time, but I think a lot of people in this league respect him for that.”
In 1635 games in his MLB career, Suzuki carried a .255/.314/.388 slash, earned one trip to the 2014 All-Star Game as a member of the Minnesota Twins, and winning the 2019 World Series with the Nationals.
Kurt Suzuki’s resume
Although his offensive numbers weren’t much to write home about, Suzuki carved out a terrific career for himself as a steady catcher in MLB. Spending time with the Athletics, Twins, Atlanta Braves, Nationals and now the Angels, Suzuki did all he needed to as a former second-round pick from the 2004 MLB Draft.
Prior to the season, Suzuki explained that this would be his last and it felt like the right time to call it a career.
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