Bobby Abreu, 40, to retire

NEW YORK -- Bobby Abreu was a 22-year-old rookie, struggling through his first month in the big leagues with the Houston Astros.

Terry Collins was his manager.

"Are you ever going to get a hit?" Collins asked Abreu on that long-ago day at the Astrodome.

That night in September 1996, Abreu did get a hit, an eighth-inning pinch single off Bobby Jones of the New York Mets. In the 18 years since, he has added 2,468 more.

Now he's 40 years old and Collins is again his manager, this time with the Mets. And now, Abreu has decided his time as a big league player is up.

Abreu announced Friday that this season will be his last, that a career that began in 1996 in Houston will end with this weekend's Mets series against the Astros. He'll go out as a two-time All-Star and as the leader among active players in doubles (574) and walks (1,475).

Among players active in the major leagues this season, only Derek Jeter has played more games than Abreu's 2,423. Abreu will leave with the third-most hits by a Venezuelan-born player, behind Omar Vizquel and Luis Aparicio.

"I was out [of baseball] for one year," said Abreu, who didn't play in 2013. "I was proud of myself I could make it back. ... I'm happy with the way it's going to end."

Abreu played nine years with the Philadelphia Phillies. He also played for the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers. He said he eventually would like to work in baseball as a hitting coach.

"I hope we can keep you in the game," Collins told Abreu, whose voice cracked with emotion during a pregame news conference Friday.

Collins said he hasn't yet worked out how much Abreu will play this weekend.

"For sure, Bobby Abreu will be able to walk off the field with his head held high Sunday," Collins said.

The Mets signed Abreu to be a veteran hitter off the bench, but also to work with and provide an example for their younger hitters. Abreu has developed a very good relationship with many of the Mets hitters, in particular Wilmer Flores and Juan Lagares.

"I have a lot of fun," Abreu said. "These young guys here are special. Even though I'm 40, they made me feel young. But I realize now that the game is for the next generation.

"I just want to say goodbye -- and adios."