PITTSBURGH -- Former Pirates catcher Jason Kendall announced his retirement from baseball on Tuesday afternoon at the age of 38. The announcement came at Arvest Ballpark in Springdale, Ark., where the Royals' Double-A affiliate is located. Kendall played in two games for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals after signing a Minor League contract on Thursday. He missed the final month of 2010 and all of last season after undergoing right shoulder surgery. Kendall was selected by the Pirates in the first round of the 1992 First-Year Player Draft. Starting in '96, the catcher spent nine years in Pittsburgh, hitting .306 and appearing in three All-Star Games. Kendall ranks fifth in Major League history with 2,025 games caught.
Pittsburgh fans will remember Kendall for his hard-nosed style of play behind the dish and the gruesome right ankle injury he suffered in 1999 while trying to beat out a hit. Kendall left Pittsburgh after the 2004 season. He spent three years in Oakland, two in Milwaukee and one each as a member of the Royals and Cubs. "Jason Kendall was old school and played the game right," the Royals' Billy Butler tweeted on Tuesday. "It was an honor to be your teammate. Great career."