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Tulo retires, joins Longhorns' coaching staff

@BryanHoch
July 25, 2019

BOSTON -- The best compliment that could have been paid to Troy Tulowitzki was offered early this spring, when the veteran danced around the infield dirt at the Yankees' complex in Tampa, Fla., attempting to roll back the clock and fulfill his dream of playing in pinstripes. Tulowitzki seemed right

BOSTON -- The best compliment that could have been paid to Troy Tulowitzki was offered early this spring, when the veteran danced around the infield dirt at the Yankees' complex in Tampa, Fla., attempting to roll back the clock and fulfill his dream of playing in pinstripes.

Tulowitzki seemed right at home turning double plays from his shortstop position, and manager Aaron Boone recalls witnessing flashes of the form that helped Tulowitzki earn five All-Star selections, two Gold Glove Awards and two Silver Slugger Awards, logging three top-10 finishes in MVP Award voting.

"He looks like Tulo again," Boone had marveled.

Alas, Tulowitzki appeared in just five games for New York before landing on the injured list with a left calf strain. After experiencing several setbacks during his rehab, Tulowitzki formally announced his retirement on Thursday in a statement released by the Yankees.

"I wanted to take this opportunity to announce my retirement as a Major League Baseball player," Tulowitzki said. "For as long as I can remember, my dream was to compete at the highest level as a Major League Baseball player … to wear a big league uniform and play hard for my teammates and the fans.

"I will forever be grateful for every day that I've had to live out my dream. It has been an absolute honor."

Tulowitzki thanked the coaches, training staff and executives who helped in his career, as well as his teammates, family, friends and agents. The next chapter of Tulowitzki's professional life is beginning, as the University of Texas announced Tulowitzki's hiring as an assistant coach under head baseball coach David Pierce.

"Tulo and I had an opportunity to spend some time together, and I came away so impressed with his desire to teach and his excitement to become a part of Texas baseball," Pierce said. "His knowledge goes without saying, but his passion and energy for the development of young men left such a meaningful impression on me. He will be a great addition to our staff."

The seventh overall pick in the 2005 Draft out of Long Beach State, Tulowitzki arrived in the Majors with the Rockies a little more than a year later, at age 21. Tulowitzki developed into a star in '07, finishing as the runner-up to Ryan Braun in the National League Rookie of the Year Award race.

In 10 seasons with the Rockies, Tulowitzki batted .299/.371/.513, good for a park-adjusted OPS+ of 123 -- well above the league-average mark of 100. He launched 188 home runs with Colorado, including six seasons of 20 or more.

"I will always look back with tremendous gratitude for having the privilege of playing as long as I did," Tulowitzki said. "There is no way to truly express my gratitude to the fans of Colorado, Toronto and New York. They always made my family and I feel so welcome."

Between 2007-14, Tulowitzki's offensive and defensive contributions netted him 38.2 wins above replacement (WAR), per Baseball Reference. That was the 10th-highest mark among Major League position players during that time.

Tulowitzki helped the Rockies reach the World Series in 2007 and the NL Division Series in '09. Colorado traded him to Toronto before the 2015 Trade Deadline, and he made each of the next two postseasons with the Blue Jays.

"He was just a baseball rat," said Adam Ottavino, a Colorado teammate. "That's what defines Troy as a ballplayer, totally engulfed by the game. That's what he loved to do, loved to practice it; just lived it all the time. That was his whole being, to me. He was one of those guys that you think everybody is like, and most of them aren't. He's the rare one."

Tulowitzki had difficulty remaining on the field beginning in 2008, after which he was placed on the injured list a dozen times with an array of maladies. In recent years, he battled to recover from injuries to his quadriceps, ankle, heel and calf.

"I want to thank the Yankees organization and Brian Cashman for giving me the opportunity to wear the Yankees uniform and live out another childhood dream," Tulowitzki said. "I wish that my health had allowed for a different ending to that chapter."

Tulowitzki finished his career with a .290/.361/.495 line, 225 home runs and 780 RBIs over 13 seasons with the Rockies, Blue Jays and Yankees.

"I know he loves this game. We certainly wish him well," Boone said. "I know the guys in there love him and hopefully at some point this season we'll get to see him again. Even though injuries cut him short a little bit, it was a great career."

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and Facebook.