This season will be the last for Derek Jeter.
The Yankees’ iconic shortstop announced Wednesday that he will retire at the end of the 2014 season. Jeter had made no public indication that he was leaning toward retirement until he posted a lengthy message on his Facebook page around 2 p.m., two days before the Yankees open spring training.
“Last year was a tough one more me,” Jeter wrote. “As I suffered through a bunch of injuries, I realized that some of the things that always came easily to me and were always fun had started to become a struggle. The one thing I always said to myself was that when baseball started to feel more like a job, it would be time to move forward.
“So really it was months ago when I realized that this season would likely be my last. As I came to this conclusion and shared it with my friends and family, they all told me to hold off saying anything until I was absolutely 100% sure.
“And the thing is, I could not be more sure. I know it in my heart. The 2014 season will be my last year playing professional baseball.”
Jeter, who will turn 40 in June, missed nearly all of last season with a series of lower body injuries. Even so, this winter he signed a $12-million extension — rather than accept a player option in his existing contract — to play one more year with the Yankees.
He’s spent the past several weeks working out at the team’s minor-league complex in Tampa, saying time and time again that he expects to be healthy and productive as the team’s regular shortstop again next season.
“In the 21-plus years in which I have served as Commissioner, Major League Baseball has had no finer ambassador than Derek Jeter,” baseball commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement. “Since his championship rookie season of 1996, Derek has represented all the best of the National Pastime on and off the field. He is one of the most accomplished and memorable players of his — or any — era.
“Derek is the kind of person that generations have emulated proudly, and he remains an exemplary face of our sport. Major League Baseball looks forward to celebrating his remarkable career throughout the 2014 season.”