Sunday was Jay Bruce’s last game as a Yankee — and a major leaguer.
The 34-year-old outfielder/first baseman retired following Sunday’s 4-2 loss to the Rays at Yankee Stadium, declaring Sunday morning that he was calling it a career after 14 seasons in the big leagues.
“The reason I ultimately chose to do this is because over 13 years of playing pretty much every single day, I set a standard of what I expected out of myself from a performance standpoint — or at least feeling like I’m able to perform at that level,” Bruce said. “I know there are ups and downs and ebbs and flows throughout a season and a career.
“But ultimately, I just felt like I couldn’t perform at the level that I expected out of myself. For me to do what I needed to do, it just wasn’t in the cards. It’s tough, but I feel at peace with it.”
Bruce said his decision came into center about seven days prior and he asked to talk with manager Aaron Boone on Friday to tell him. In the wake of signing with the Yankees on a minor league deal in February, Bruce had won a task out of spring training yet was batting 4-for-34 with a homer in 10 games. He began the first eight games of the season at a respectable starting point, filling in for the harmed Luke Voit, yet had as of late was eliminated of the lineup.
The three-time All-Star, a 2005 first-round pick of the Reds of high school in Beaumont, Texas, Bruce completed his vocation with 319 grand slams, 1,455 hits, 951 RBIs and a .244 batting average.
Bruce battled injuries late in his career, hindering his creation, yet said he liked his final opportunity with the Yankees to demonstrate he was healthy and wear the pinstripes prior to strolling.
“I didn’t reach the top of the hill,” said Bruce, who also played three seasons with the Mets. “I didn’t reach the pinnacle — I didn’t win that World Series. But that’s OK.”
The Yankees regarded Bruce on the video screen after the seventh inning, circulating a message from his previous Reds teammate Joey Votto complimenting him on his retirement.
“Obviously starting back in Cincinnati and finishing here, it’s been a great run for him,” Boone said. “He’s been a real pro with us.”
While Voit is gaining ground in his get back from knee surgery, the Yankees could fill Bruce’s roster spot with Mike Ford or Tyler Wade, who will both be qualified to be reviewed from the substitute site by Tuesday’s game against the Braves.