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Angels reliever Ty Buttrey announced Saturday that he is leaving baseball, explaining in an almost 600-word statement posted to Instagram that he had lost his love for the sport and was ready to go a different direction in life.
It came a day after Angels manager Joe Maddon announced that Buttrey, a 28-year-old right-handed reliever, would be placed on the restricted list because he hadn’t reported to the team’s alternate training site.
A mainstay in the Angels' bullpen since his major league debut in 2018, Buttrey failed to make the opening day roster out of spring training — though Maddon said Buttrey’s decision was “independent of whether he made the team or not.”
Buttrey wrote in the statement: “I contacted the Angels and they asked me to give it some time and to think about it. Part of the process was to be optioned, which I accepted. I took the additional time to make sure my thoughts were clear. I recontacted the Angels and told them I was leaving the game for my own personal reasons.”
He later added: “I want to finally be known as just Ty, not the baseball player. I completely lost the drive to continue doing something that I didn’t love because in my mind, I already accomplished it. It was never my dream to make it to the Hall of Fame, win a World Series, or become an All-Star. In my head, I accomplished what I wanted, to prove people wrong and accomplish something extremely hard.”
Buttrey wrote that he spent his whole life having “played the game for everyone else. I just wanted to prove everyone wrong.” He relayed a story about being motivated by a teacher who told him he would never make it to the big leagues, and noted, “I always thought baseball was a cool job. I also knew that same job paid extremely well. What young kid doesn’t want a cool job that pays well?”
Despite being a fourth-round draft pick of Boston in 2012 and leading the Angels in relief appearances in 2019, when he posted a 3.98 earned-run average, Buttrey said he never loved the job. He worked hard to improve — right up through this spring, saying last month he was trying to better control his tempo on the mound after slumping to a 5.91 ERA last year — but realized he had lost the ambition.
“Unfortunately, the older I got, the more I realized this dream to play professional baseball wasn’t what I actually wanted,” Buttrey wrote, adding: “Money and proving people wrong are short term motivators, especially when you never actually loved the game you dedicated the last 24 years of your life to.”
Buttrey thanked Angels fans and the organization for supporting him and his wife.
“It’s time for Sam and I to start living the life we really want,” he said. “I am beyond excited to finally be a normal, hardworking dude, that loves his family and friends.”
Maddon said he hadn’t noticed any signs that Buttrey was discontent, but upon reading his statement “understood precisely what he’s talking about. If the fun is diminished, don’t do it. I totally agree with that, with anything that we do.”
Maddon added: “We’ve all gone through those moments, and right now he needs support. He’s gonna have ours, and he’s got mine.”
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.