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Sports Ex-Ranger Teixeira plans to retire at season's end

Ex-Ranger Teixeira plans to retire at season’s end

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NEW YORK (AP) — Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira plans to retire at the end of the season, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press.

New York scheduled a news conference with Teixeira for Friday afternoon, before its series opener against Cleveland. The person, speaking on condition of anonymity because no statement was authorized, said the purpose of the news conference was for Teixeira to announce 2016 is his final season.

Slowed by injuries, the 36-year-old switch-hitting first baseman is batting .198 with 10 homers and 27 RBIs. A three-time All-Star and five-time Gold Glove winner, he is in the final season of a $180 million, eight-year contract. His 404 home runs are fifth among switch-hitters, trailing only Mickey Mantle (536), Eddie Murray (504), Chipper Jones (468) and Carlos Beltran (415).

Teixeira’s plans were first reported by ESPN.

Greg Bird, a 23-year-old who missed this season following shoulder surgery, is projected by the Yankees as Teixeira’s successor.

When he arrived at spring training in February, Teixeira said “I’d love to play five more years. My body feels so good. Why not play until 40?”

But he was slowed early this season by a bulging disk in his neck and was on the disabled list from June 4-25 with a right knee cartilage tear, an injury that has caused manager Joe Girardi to schedule repeated off days since his return.

Teixeira was taken by Texas with the fifth overall pick in the 2001 amateur draft and made his big league debut with the Rangers two years later. He was traded to his hometown Atlanta Braves in July 2007, dealt to the Los Angeles Angels the following year and signed with the Yankees in January 2009.

He helped New York win a World Series title in his first season, hitting .292 with 39 homers and 122 RBIs and finishing second behind Minnesota’s Joe Mauer in AL Most Valuable Player voting.

Teixeira was limited to 15 games and a .151 average in 2013 after tearing the tendon sheath in his right hand while with the U.S. team at the World Baseball Classic. He had surgery that July 1 and missed the remainder of the season, then hit .216 with 22 homers and 62 RBIs the following year, when the hand was still regaining strength and he was slowed by a hamstring injury.

Fully recovered, he made the All-Star team again in 2015 but fouled a pitch off his right leg Aug. 17, played two more games in pain and then found out he had fractured his shin. He finished the season with a .255 average, 31 homers and 79 RBIs.

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