Castilla officially retires from baseball

CAROLINA, Puerto Rico -- A little more than four months
after playing his last game in the major leagues, Vinny Castilla
officially retired from baseball on Wednesday.

Castilla played first base in Mexico's 4-3 victory over
Venezuela on the last day of the Caribbean Series. He went 1-for-4,
with a double and a run scored.

"I knew it was my last game, but I got emotional when I came to
the park and all my teammates came to congratulate me," the
39-year old slugger said while trying to hold back tears after the

"When the players from the other countries hugged me after the
game, I couldn't hold back the tears. I felt very emotional and
proud for all my accomplishment."

Castilla is Mexico's all-time leading home-run hitter in the
majors, with 320 homers in a 16-season career with Atlanta,
Colorado, Tampa Bay, Houston, Washington and San Diego.

Colorado claimed him off waivers last season so he could retire
in a Rockies uniform.

The third baseman had his best years with the Rockies, with four
consecutive seasons (1996-99) with more than 30 home runs and 100
RBIs. His best year was 1999, when he had career highs with a .319
average, 46 home runs and 144 RBIs.

"I left everything on the field and always respected the
game," he said.

Castilla said recently during the Series that he will work as a
special assistant to Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd, and will
pursue a coaching or managing career in the future.