(FORT MYERS, Fla.) — Boston Red Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster will not be found on the mound in 2014.
The 16-year veteran gave general manager Ben Cherington a phone call about two weeks ago to let him know he was thinking about stepping away from baseball.
“I joked with John a little bit — ‘Sorry, Skip, to throw this on you in the last minute, but you’re going to have to find another Opening Day starter,'” Dempster said on Sunday about his meeting with manager John Farrell.
Dempster signed a two-year, $26.5 million contract with the Red Sox after the 2012 season and made 29 starts for the Sox last season.
“I had an incredible run,” Dempster continued. “I had a chance to play 16 years in the major leagues and be around a lot of great teammates, made a lot of good friendships — great friendships — a lot of great memories.
“But I just feel like where I’m at with my health, how I feel personally, I just feel like it’s in the best interests of both myself and the organization and the team to not play this year. I don’t feel like I can compete or produce the way I’m accustomed to.”
Dempster finally won his first World Series ring after spending time with the Marlins, Cubs, Reds, and Rangers.
“At the end of the day, if this is the end, this is the end, and what a great way to go out,” he said, “and think that the last batter I faced was to strike out to end Game 1 of the World Series.”
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
Madison Park, Keith Allen and Andreas Preuss, CNN