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Mets’ Michael Cuddyer explains decision to retire

Michael Cuddyer said he just knew it was

Michael Cuddyer said he just knew it was time to retire. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Mets outfielder Michael Cuddyer officially announced his retirement on Saturday, citing the litany of injuries that have shaped the last few years of his career.

“It goes against every grain in my body to consider a future without the game,” Cuddyer wrote in his official announcement, published on The Players’ Tribune website. “But after 15 years, the toll on my body has finally caught up to me.’’

He also wrote, “Over the last four years, I was on the disabled list six times. I missed 150-200 games over that time span — a broken shoulder, a strained oblique, a torn-up knee, a bulging disc in my neck. I pushed through it. Mentally, I was able to overcome it for a long time, but the physical and emotional taxation took its toll. Part of being a professional is to know yourself and to know your limits.”

Some of those limits presented themselves more and more during Cuddyer’s final season. He hit .259 with 10 homers and played a lesser role as the season went along.

“I just knew I wasn’t going to be able to give what I expect myself to give out on the field,” Cuddyer said Saturday during a conference call with reporters.

In a telephone interview, Mets captain David Wright said that when he caught wind that Cuddyer was thinking about retirement, he pressed his close friend. Each time, the answer came back the same: Cuddyer knew the time had come.

“When you know,’’ Wright said, “you kind of know.”

Cuddyer said he will miss the camaraderie, the competition and some of the perks, such as meals at the best restaurants around the country.

But none of it was enough to bring him back for a 16th season even though he remained under contract for one more year.

“They started to get tougher to get back from, tougher to rehab,” he said. “It started to get harder to get in the gym.”

Cuddyer, who refused to get into details about his contract buyout, did not specify what will come next, aside from saying he looks forward to spending time with his family.

“As hard as it is to retire, I know my family deserves to have me home full-time now,” Cuddyer wrote. “It is time for my kids to develop their own dreams with their dad by their side.”

In a statement, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson lauded Cuddyer’s professionalism.

“As everybody knows, Michael throughout his 15 Major League seasons has been a complete pro,” Alderson said. “He embodies and defines what the word ‘professional’ means — on and off the field.”

By season’s end, Cuddyer’s role was limited, his spot in leftfield taken by rookie Michael Conforto. Yet Alderson acknowledged Cuddyer’s veteran leadership.

“While battling injuries this past season, he was one of our team’s true leaders in the clubhouse, playing a significant role in our National League Championship,” Alderson said. “He leaves an indelible, positive impact on our organization.”

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