The Toronto Blue Jays honored retiring infielder Omar Vizquel by having him throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the season finale Wednesday against the Minnesota Twins.
The three-time All-Star and 11-time Gold Glove winner has said he intends to retire after 24 seasons.
Vizquel, 45, broke into the major leagues with Seattle in 1989 and became popular with Mariners fans while he played with the team through the 1993 season. He has also played with Cleveland, San Francisco, Texas and the Chicago White Sox.
Fans stood and cheered as Vizquel took the mound following a video-highlight montage and threw the first pitch to Ricky Romero.
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Vizquel, who has played mostly at second base and third for the Blue Jays this season, was given one final start at shortstop against the Twins. It was his 2,709th game at shortstop, the most in major league history.
Former teammate Carlos Baerga and fellow Venezuelan baseball greats Luis Aparicio and Andres Galarraga were on hand for Vizquel’s final game.
With the end of the regular season comes the start of some coaches having to find new places of employment.
Terry Francona, the former Boston and Philadelphia manager, will interview Friday with the Cleveland Indians, who fired Manny Acta last week following a second-half collapse that dropped the Indians from contention to near the bottom of the American League Central.
Francona, who led the Red Sox to World Series titles in 2004 and 2007, will be the second candidate interviewed.
The Phillies fired former Mariners coach Sam Perlozzo from their first base coaching position. The team also let go bench coach Pete Mackanin and hitting coach Greg Gross.
Perlozzo coached third base for Seattle from 1993-95 and the 2008 season. He joined Philadelphia in 2009.
Perlozzo managed the Baltimore Orioles from 2005-2007.
Also fired in the National League was Chicago Cubs third base coach Pat Listach.
Listach was the Cubs’ bench coach from 2010-11, moving to the third base job this year.
Nationals manager Davey Johnson left the regular-season finale in the seventh inning Wednesday because of numbness in his left leg. A team doctor traced the numbness to pinched nerves in Johnson’s back. The 69-year-old manager says he doesn’t anticipate having any trouble traveling or managing during the playoffs. … Set to become a free agent now that the regular season is finished, Kevin Youkilis says he enjoyed his time with the White Sox, but his family will come first in deciding where he plays next season. … Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano says he is open to being traded in the offseason. Soriano has two years remaining on his contract and says he will consider walking away when the deal is up. … The Teddy Roosevelt mascot won the Presidents Race for the first time at Nationals Park on Wednesday. The Roosevelt mascot had lost more than 500 times since 2006. … Former major leaguer Joey Gathright was suspended 50 games Tuesday after testing positive for an amphetamine. Gathright, 31, played with the Boston Red Sox last season and this year with Triple-A Louisville (International League) and Bridgeport (Atlantic League).