Bengie Molina #11 of the Texas Rangers looks on during...

Bengie Molina #11 of the Texas Rangers looks on during batting practice before Game One of the 2010 MLB World Series against the San Francisco Giants. (Oct. 27, 2010) Credit: Getty Images

Bengie Molina never played a home game in New York, in 13 years in the big leagues. He sure made his presence felt in the Big Apple, however.

And now, it appears that Molina will probably never play for either New York team. Or for any other club again, for that matter.

"I don't want to say I'm retired. I'm just out," the veteran catcher told Newsday in a telephone interview. "Who knows? Maybe later on, I'll change my mind, but for now, I'm retired, I don't want to file the papers until I'm sure."

Molina will be best remembered as the starting catcher for the 2002 Angels, who won the only World Series title in the franchise's history. He helped the '02 and 2005 Angels beat the Yankees in those American League Division Series, and last October, he contributed to the Rangers' triumph over the Yankees in the AL Championship Series.

In Flushing, meanwhile, Molina served frequently as an object of Omar Minaya's desire. The Mets pursued Molina as a free agent after the 2005 and 2009 seasons.

"A lot of my teammates and friends want me to come back," Molina said. "I love the game. It gave me life . . . I wish I could be playing right now. But I've got other priorities right now."

Those other priorities are his wife, Jamie and daughters Kyshly, Kelssy and Marie. He'll stay in shape, he said, "just for life."

As for not ruling out a comeback, "It could be how Pedro [Martinez] did it halfway through (2009), something like that," he said. "It's not like I'm planning on doing that. If it comes up, and I'm ready to go, I'll do it."

 

The accidental pep talk

Eric Chavez has played his way into consideration for a Yankees roster spot. And like many veterans, Chavez has a link to Yankees history.

On Oct. 8, 2000, Chavez did the media a favor and spoke at a news conference prior to Game 5 of the American League Division Series between his Oakland Athletics and the Yankees.

"They've had a great run," Chavez said of the Yankees. "I mean, it's hard to stay No. 1. Everybody's gunning for you; everybody's trying to beat you. They're going to throw their best at you. They've done a phenomenal job as it is.

"But it's time. I think tonight, you know, if we can get this game, I think people are going to start looking at this team, you know, for years to come as hopefully starting something that they accomplished a couple years ago and have done the last couple years."

Chavez didn't know, but his words had been broadcast -- live -- on the big screen at Oakland's ballpark. The Yankees, taking batting practice, heard Chavez's words and reacted strongly.

"I remember walking around, asking guys if they heard it the way I heard it," former Yankees third baseman Scott Brosius said recently. "He probably didn't mean that the way that we heard it. But we heard it."

When the Yankees won the series with a 7-5 victory, Brosius and Mike Stanton screamed, in the visitors' clubhouse, "Who says we're too old?!"

Chavez, meanwhile, said he meant no harm, and wasn't even aware of his words' impact until spring training of 2002. Yet he takes accountability for what happened.

"The mind is a powerful thing," Chavez said. "So if they said it worked, it worked."

 

For Ace, Boston is the place

The Red Sox signed righthander Alfredo Aceves after the Yankees non-tendered him, and so far, Boston is very pleased with the 28-year-old's efforts. Aceves pitched in just 10 games for the Yankees last year, with back problems sidelining him the rest of the way and prompting his original team to let him go.

With Daisuke Matsuzaka off to a rough start in Grapefruit League action, and with the effectiveness of 44-year-old knuckleballer Tim Wakefield unclear, Aceves could wind up getting starts for the Red Sox.