SEATTLE — Nelson Cruz finished with his duties throwing out the ceremonial first pitch before the Seattle Mariners opened the season against the Boston Red Sox and walked over to a little stand set up behind home plate.

There, he signed a ceremonial one-day contract allowing Cruz to retire as a member of the Mariners organization before Thursday night's season opener.

Cruz announced his retirement following last season. He spent parts of 19 seasons in the majors with eight different organizations. His longest stint was the eight seasons he spent with Texas early in his career.

But Cruz had four influential and impactful seasons in Seattle from 2015-18. He was a three-time All-Star in Seattle, led the league with 119 RBIs in 2017 and hit 163 homers in his four seasons — more than he hit in parts of eight season with Texas.

Cruz said a special connection with Seattle is why he decided to have his retirement associated with the Mariners.

“I always identified myself as a Mariner, even though I played more years as a Ranger,” Cruz said.

Cruz finished his career with 464 home runs, a .274 batting average and 1,325 RBIs. He appeared in 49 games last season with San Diego in his final year.

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