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Three-time All-Star Youkilis retires from baseball

Gritty infielder was a contributor to Red Sox's World Series titles in 2004, '07

Best known for his relentless at-bats and gritty style of play, Kevin Youkilis announced his retirement from baseball on Thursday.

Youkilis, who played in Japan last season, made his announcement through his agency. Pro Star Management tweeted on Thursday afternoon: "15-yr client, Kevin Youkilis, after deep thought about family and health, is calling it a career. Been a great one! Love ya, Youk. #YOOOUUUK."

The 35-year-old Youkilis spent most of his 10-year career with the Red Sox, playing for the club's World Series championship teams in 2004 and '07.

A rookie reserve on the 2004 team, Youkilis was a core member by the time the Red Sox won it all in '07.

The best season Youkilis had was 2008, when he hit .312 with 29 homers, 115 RBIs and a .390/.569/.958 slash line, finishing third in the American League Most Valuable Player Award voting. Youkilis was the AL's Hank Aaron Award recipient in '08.

Youkilis was a three-time AL All-Star (2008, '09 and '11) and won an AL Gold Glove Award at first base in 2007. He finished sixth in the 2009 AL MVP Award voting. One of the most valuable traits Youkilis had was his defensive versatility, as he had the ability to seamlessly move from first to third base, something that often helped the Red Sox be more flexible in the offseason.

Youkilis was traded from the Red Sox to the White Sox in the middle of a game at Fenway Park in June 2012, and he belted a triple in his last at-bat with Boston. When Youkilis was removed for a pinch-runner, the crowd at Fenway Park erupted with applause for the longtime fan favorite.

In Boston, Youkilis was simply known as "Yooouuuk." Through the book and subsequent movie "Moneyball," Youkilis was referred to as the "Greek God of Walks," a disciplined hitter whom Athletics general manager Billy Beane obsessed over but never acquired.

The final stop in the Major Leagues for Youkilis was an injury-plagued 2013 season with the Yankees.

The Cincinnati native spent the 2014 season with the Rakuten Golden Eagles of the Japan Pacific League, where he hit .215 with one homer with 11 RBIs in 21 games before again being shut down due to injuries.

Ian Browne is a reporter for Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne.
Read More: Boston Red Sox, Kevin Youkilis