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MLB: Twins catcher Joe Mauer announces retirement

MLB: Twins catcher Joe Mauer announces retirement
Minnesota Twins' Joe Mauer salutes the home fans as he leaves the game after catching one pitch in the ninth inning against the Chicago White Sox on Sept. 30 at Target Field. (Carlos Gonzalez / Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Joe Mauer is retiring after 15 major league seasons, six All-Star games, three Gold Glove awards, three batting titles and 2,123 career hits, all with his hometown Minnesota Twins.

“Thank you, Minnesota Twins, and thank you, fans, for making my career as special and memorable as it was,” Mauer wrote in a full-page ad that will run Sunday in the Minneapolis Star Tribune and St. Paul Pioneer Press. “Because of you I can leave the game I love with a full and grateful heart.”

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Mauer's eight-year, $184-million contract expired the day after the World Series ended, creating a natural parting from the game he grew up with in St. Paul, less than 10 miles from the downtown Minneapolis ballparks he called home with the Twins.

“The decision came down to my health and my family,” the catcher wrote. “The risk of a concussion is always there, and I was reminded of that this season when I missed 30 games as a result of diving for a foul ball. That's all it took this time around and it was all I need to bring me back to the struggles I faced in 2013.”

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