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Rays’ Baldelli Retires After Battling Injuries, Muscle Fatigue

Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Rocco Baldelli retired from Major League Baseball after a seven-year career marked by injuries and muscle fatigue.

Baldelli, 29, announced the decision today, the Rays said on their website. He will remain with the team as a special assistant for scouting and player development.

Tampa Bay drafted Baldelli with the sixth pick in the 2000 amateur draft. In 2003, his first major-league season, Baldelli hit .289 with 11 home runs and 89 runs scored, and finished third in Rookie of the Year balloting. In 2003 and 2004 he led the league in outfield assists for a center fielder.

He never played a full season after that. Baldelli tore an anterior cruciate ligament in 2005, injured a hamstring in 2007, and was diagnosed with mitochondrial disorder, a rare disease that causes muscle fatigue and limits energy. He signed with the Boston Red Sox in 2009 before returning to Tampa Bay last season.

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