Players, coaches reflect on Pudge's career

Players, coaches reflect on Pudge's career

DETROIT -- Rangers infielder Michael Young was among those who called Ivan Rodriguez on Thursday after hearing that he plans to retire. Young was Rodriguez's teammate in 2001-02 with the Rangers and again at the end of the 2009 season.

"Great guy, great teammate," Young said. "Knowing him and the competitor he is, he'd like to play a little more. But he's had a Hall of Fame career. It will be nice to celebrate that in Texas as a member of the Rangers. I'm excited about it."

Rodriguez, who played for the Rangers from 1991-2002, as well as the last month of the 2009 season, is planning to announce his retirement at a press conference on Monday at the Ballpark in Arlington. The Rangers will honor him in pregame ceremonies and have him throw out the first pitch.

Rodriguez won 10 of his 13 Gold Gloves while with the Rangers and played in 10 All-Star Games. He was also the 1999 American League Most Valuable Player, one of four Rangers to ever win that award.

"There's no question he was one of the best ever," said Rangers bench coach Jackie Moore, who was a coach with the ballclub in 1993-94. "What I remember the most about him was he was one of the best at throwing behind runners. Not only was he consistent at throwing you out at second base, but he could throw behind you at first base. He could completely shut down the running game.

"He was also a tough out at the plate. He used all fields and could hit the ball hard in the opposite direction. He played hard and always gave full effort. I not only enjoyed him as a teammate, but I also enjoyed watching him play."

Rangers manager Ron Washington called Rodriguez the best catcher he ever saw.

"He was the scariest guy behind that plate," Washington said. "It didn't matter if you were at first, second or third. He could get you wherever you were. He was a special catcher."