Reliever Mota decides to retire after 14 seasons
Right-hander played for seven big league teams and made 743 career appearances
MESA, Ariz. -- After 14 big league seasons, relief pitcher Guillermo Mota has decided to call it quits.
His retirement was announced on Sunday by the Royals, who signed him to a Minor League contract in January and invited him to their Major League training camp. He never pitched for the Royals, but did for the Expos, Dodgers, Marlins, Indians, Mets, Brewers and Giants.
"He's had a great career and he's a great kid. I had him in Milwaukee," Royals manager Ned Yost said.
Not exactly a kid, Mota, 40, did not pitch last year after being on his second World Series championship Giants team in 2012. He didn't pitch in that World Series, but did in 2010 -- when he had two scoreless outings against the Rangers.
"I've always admired Guillermo as a person and a player. I'd like to thank him," Royals general manager Dayton Moore said. "However, in talking with him, he indicated that he wanted to spend more time with his family."
Mota, 6-foot-6 and 240 pounds from San Pedro de Macoris in the Dominican Republic, joined in the Royals' hijinks on the first day of full-squad workouts. Several veteran pitchers, reacting to a rookie's remark, wore OLD GUY instead of their names on the back of their uniforms. Mota, the most senior of all, wore REAL OLD GUY on his jersey.
Originally signed by the Mets as an infielder, Mota pitched as a reliever in 743 Major League games with a 39-45 record, 10 saves and a 3.94 ERA. Between 1999 and 2012, only five pitchers made more relief appearances than Mota. He was traded six times. He was also twice suspended by Major League Baseball for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs, first in 2006 and again in 2012. In addition to the Giants, he also reached postseason play with the Mets in 2006 and the Brewers in 2008.
Mota's career included some colorful incidents involving batters who he plunked with pitches. While with the Dodgers in 2002 and '03, he had scrapes with the Mets' Mike Piazza, both times in Spring Training games. During his second stint with the Dodgers in 2009, he was ejected after plunking the Brewers' Prince Fielder, who later tried unsuccessfully to enter the Dodgers' clubhouse to confront Mota.
"He's a good guy," said Royals reliever Francisley Bueno, who had a locker next to Mota. "I played with him in the Dominican. He had 14 years in the big leagues. He had two World Series rings. He won with the Giants two times."
Mota obviously had fans. A couple of days before Mota decided to leave camp, a fan stood near the players' entrance at Surprise Stadium with a big sign that implored Mota to stop by and sign his baseball.
Did Mota sign that ball?
"I think so," Bueno said with a smile. "He is a good person."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.