As he announced his retirement Friday, the connections made over 18 major-league seasons weren't lost upon Bobby Abreu.
To his left sat Terry Collins, his first manager in the big leagues, and as of Sunday, his last. His final series comes against the Astros, the franchise that discovered him as a 17-year-old and molded him into one of Venezuela's most prominent big-league stars.
"I just wanted to say goodbye," Abreu said, fighting back tears. "And adios. Thank you."
Abreu, 40, earned a reputation as one of the game's best hitters, hitting .291 for his career with 288 homers. His .395 on-base percentage stemmed from his command of the strike zone throughout his career with the Astros, Phillies, Yankees, Angels, Dodgers and Mets. Abreu launched a comeback after sitting out 2013, signing a minor-league deal with the Mets. He's hitting .246 in 76 games over two separate stints.
"Bobby's one of those warm personalities that brought you in," said Collins, who said managing Abreu was "an honor."
He also expressed interest in becoming a hitting coach.
"I feel blessed," Abreu said. "We all create goals in our life and to me as a baseball player, I created goals and I made all those goals."
Lefthander Jonathon Niese left the game with an elevated heart rate in the sixth inning of Friday night's 3-1 loss to the Astros. After the game, the pitcher reported no lingering symptoms, chalking up the incident to a heart condition that last flared in 2012.
"It just comes up," said Niese, who has decided against a procedure to correct the issue. He tossed 51/3 shutout innings to end his season 9-11 with a 3.40 ERA.