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April 23, 2012

Palmeiro, Ryan talk about Pudge

Among the crowd at Monday's Ivan Rodriguez retirement announcement were former teammates Rafael Palmeiro, Benji Gil, Mark McLemore and Jeff Frye, as well as agent Scott Boras. 

Palmeiro said it didn't take long to see that Pudge, signed by the Rangers as a teenager, was a special player.

"The very first day we saw him," Palmeiro said, "just the way he threw runners out and the way he swung the bat at the age of 19, you could tell he was going to be a special player.

"Pudge, in my opinion, is the greatest catcher who's ever played  the game. I know there will be debates. But I saw him at his peak and there was nobody like him. There's nobody like him now."

Rodriguez said that even though he retiring as an active player, "I'm going to be in baseball. You guys are going to see me around."

Team president Nolan Ryan confirmed that some preliminary discussions have been held with Pudge about working with the Rangers in some capacity.

"I think there's interest on both sides of him being involved in our organization," Ryan said. "We're excited about that. It'd be good for our organization. We're looking forward to working something out on that, possibly in the near future."

Ryan said that one obvious area for Rodriguez would be working with the catchers in the organization. 

"I also think with the success he's had and the way he's been received in the community, he could have a very positive influence on a lot of our young Latin players and help them make that transition."


-- Gil LeBreton


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