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Hawkins announces plans to retire after '15 season

Longtime big league reliever and current Rockies closer LaTroy Hawkins said on MLB Network Friday morning that 2015 will be his final season.

Hawkins, who was on the Hot Stove broadcast to talk about his participation in Major League Baseball's initiative to send big leaguers to developing baseball countries "to share their passions for the game," said he will retire after next season, his 21st as a Major Leaguer.

"Next Sunday, I'll be 42 and 2015 will be my last year playing professional baseball," Hawkins said. "Hopefully not my last year of professional, but it'll be my last year playing professional baseball."

Hawkins was drafted by the Twins in the seventh round of the 1991 First-Year Player Draft and has played for 10 clubs in his 20-year career.

Video: COL@LAD: Hawkins pitches for the 1,000th time

Hawkins' 1,000 career appearances rank 16th all time (and most among active pitchers), and he is the only active pitcher to have recorded 100 saves and started 75 games in his career. All 98 of his career starts came in the first five years of his career with Minnesota.

"I had a great manager in Minnesota by the name of Tom Kelly, and Tom Kelly always told me that, 'You keep doing this, son, and it'll turn around for you. You have what it takes, and I've seen it before,'" Hawkins said. "And when he told me they were going to put me in the bullpen, he said, 'This is going to help you stay in the big leagues for a long time.' And he was right."

This winter, the Rockies picked up their $2.25 million option on Hawkins, who converted 23 of 26 save chances and went 4-3 with a 3.31 ERA in 57 appearances last season. He also pitched for Colorado in 2007, when the team advanced to the World Series. With 59 appearances next season, he could pass Kent Tekulve (1,050 games) and Mike Timlin (1,058) to move into eighth on the all-time list.

Hawkins will join former Major Leaguers Barry Larkin and Steve Finley in Ibiuna, Brazil, from Jan. 26-Feb. 4 for an MLB Brazil Elite Camp that will also feature Brazilians Andre Rienzo (White Sox) and Paulo Orlando (Royals).

Rienzo, Orlando and players from the Brazilian national team who competed in the 2013 World Baseball Classic will train with camp attendees. The camp, which has been held annually since 2011, will include 50 of the best players (ages 14-17) from Brazil and Argentina.

Youth players will participate in morning workouts, afternoon games and evening seminars led by MLB field staff. They'll receive instruction from professional coaches and play in front of Major League scouts.

"These Elite Camps that we're doing around the world are just another way for MLB to grow the game of baseball," said Hawkins, who also made the trip to Brazil last January. "We're just down there trying to find some talent that's been untapped."

Joey Nowak is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @joeynowak.
Read More: Colorado Rockies, LaTroy Hawkins