Two-time All-Star relief pitcher Britton retires

Reliever Zack Britton, a two-time All-Star in 12 major league seasons, told The Athletic in a story published Monday that he is retiring from baseball.

Britton, who told The Athletic of his plans in an interview conducted earlier this month, said he is retiring in order to spend more time with his wife and their four children.

Britton, 35, last pitched in 2022 with the New York Yankees when he attempted to come back early from Tommy John surgery in order to help New York in the playoffs but instead landed back on the injured list after three appearances. His last outing for the Yankees was against the Baltimore Orioles, the only other team he played for in his career.

“My last outing was against the Orioles. I threw a ball to the backstop as my last pitch; I think about that and it sucks,” Britton told The Athletic. “It might not have been perfect from a career standpoint or going out on a high note, but you don’t always get to pick. My gut was telling me it was time to see what life was like on the other side.”

The left-hander was an All-Star in back-to-back seasons with the Orioles in 2015 and ’16. He led the American League with saves in 2016 with 47 and saved 154 games in his career. He finishes with a 35-26 record and a 3.13 ERA.

He spent the first 7½ seasons with the Orioles and the final 4½ with the Yankees. He gave credit to the Orioles organization for helping him to mature as a player. He also said playing for the Yankees was “special.”

“Putting on that uniform and walking into the clubhouse, the history of it hits you,” Britton told The Athletic. “The whole experience of being a Yankee is impressive. You are playing for one of the most recognized sports teams in the world; the way they treat you, and the things you get — I wouldn’t trade that experience for the world. I wish I had won a World Series there. I wish I hadn’t been injured as much as I had. That was special.”

Britton had a 3.13 ERA in the postseason and appeared in the AL Championship Series twice — with the Orioles in 2014 and with the Yankees in 2019.

Britton told The Athletic he worked out for several teams this past spring and, even though he had a few offers, he decided not to pitch in 2023. He said his agent, Scott Boras, told him, ‘You will never regret spending more times with your kids.’

“And that really hit home. Coming from him, I was like, ‘Wow, OK, maybe the things I’m feeling are good things. I’ve done everything I wanted to do in the game, other than win a World Series. I played a lot longer than I thought. A lot of it is luck, let’s be honest. There’s a lot of talented guys who don’t get to play for 12 years. So I’m very grateful for that. It was the journey, honestly, that was special. I was never great at being good at two things and now it’s time to be all-in on my family.”

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