Javier Lopez, a longtime relief pitcher for the San Francisco Giants, is hanging it up for good, according to reports.
The lefty hurler on Wednesday announced his expected retirement decision, Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported.
"More than anything, it's just time," Lopez told Rosenthal. "It's a young man's game. Although I think I can compete, it's getting harder and harder to get ready for spring."
Lopez made his Major League Baseball debut in 2003 at the age of 25. He joined the "Orange and Black" in 2010 before helping the team win three titles during his seven-year run in San Francisco. The lefty specialist posted a career 3.48 ERA to go along with 358 strikeouts.
By his lofty standards, 2016 was a down year for Lopez. He had a 4.05 ERA in 68 appearances and struggled with his command at times. Lopez walked left-handed hitter Anthony Rizzo in the ninth inning of an NLDS Game 4 loss, but that was just about the only blemish on his postseason record with the Giants.
Lopez, a brilliant under-the-radar move in the middle of the 2010 season, allowed just one earned run over 23 appearances during the even year title runs. Used primarily against tough left-handers, he held opposing hitters to a .125 batting average during that span. Lopez also won a World Series ring with the 2007 Red Sox, and he spent the final years of his career as MLB’s active leader in rings.
As much as the Giants will miss Lopez in the late innings — even last year he held lefties to a .208 average — the impact will be just as great on the clubhouse. He was a leader for a bullpen that has undergone massive changes in the last two years, and the rare reliever who stood up as a voice of the team during difficult times. In good times, Lopez was one of the funniest quotes on the team.
It was an open secret around the team last season that Lopez was likely playing his final year. The Lopez family had recently moved closer to the East Coast.
Lopez was a free agent at the time of his announcement. He had a small list of teams interested in acquiring his talents.