ST. PETERSBURG — Pat Burrell retired on Monday, ending a 12-year career that included both one of the biggest hits and biggest misses in Rays history.
In the 2008 World Series, playing for the Phillies against the Rays, Burrell smacked a seventh-inning double off J.P. Howell that led to the run that clinched the resumed Game 5, and thus the championship, for Philadelphia.
Burrell then signed a hefty free-agent deal with the Rays — $16 million over two years — and doomed them again, ill-fitted for the DH role he signed up for, hitting just .218 with 16 homers and 77 RBIs and getting released six weeks into his second season.
Making it worse from the Rays perspective, he then signed on with his hometown Giants and played a key role for them during the rest of the 2010 season, and ended up winning another World Series. (Which led to this unique distinction: He has more World Series rings than hits, as the double off Howell was his only hit in a 1-for-27, 16-strikeout performance.)
"I wish he had one less title," Howell said Monday. "But good for him having a great career and two rings."
Overall, Burrell, 35, played 12 seasons in the majors, starring for most of his nine in Philadelphia, where his 251 home runs rank fourth in franchise history. The No. 1 overall pick out of Miami in the 1998 draft, Burrell finished with a career .253 average, 292 homers, 976 RBIs and about $71 million in career earnings.
"Obviously starting with a different team and having it turn out the way it did is not what you hoped for obviously," Burrell told the Tampa Bay Times in 2010. "But I got a chance, the Giants gave me an opportunity to come out here and play, and I just tried to make the most of it."
• Outfielder Justin Ruggiano opted for free agency rather than accept an outright assignment to Triple A. Ruggiano was designated for assignment last week as the Rays made room on the 40-man roster for Carlos Peña. Ruggiano, 29, was also designated before last season, starred at Durham and ending up joining the Rays in late May.
"It was a tough decision, but in the end, I had to do what was best for my career," Ruggiano said.
Infielder Russ Canzler's future is yet to be decided; a trade is possible.
• MLB Network will carry the Rays-Yankees season opener from the Trop at 3:10 p.m. April 6.
• Tickets for Friday's Dinner with David Price/Ted Williams Hitters Hall of Fame inductions (Tino Martinez, Cecil Fielder) at Tropicana Field will be available, for $99, until noon Thursday via raysbaseball.com.
• Former Durham manager Bill Evers, now a minor-league field coordinator, and pitcher Dave Eiland, now the Royals pitching coach, will be inducted into the Triple-A International League Hall of Fame.
Around the majors
MARTINEZ SURGERY: Tigers catcher/DH Victor Martinez had left knee surgery Friday and will need a second operation, another indication he is likely to miss the season.
RANGERS REWARD MANAGER: Ron Washington signed a two-year contract extension after leading the Rangers to the World Series for the second straight season. The deal puts him under contract through 2014.
BROOKS BETTER: Hall of Fame third baseman Brooks Robinson is resting comfortably in Florida with a shoulder injury he received in a fall from a stage. The ex-Oriole, 74, fractured his scapula Friday during a player reception in Hollywood. He leaned against a curtain, mistakenly thinking a wall was behind it, and fell on his back.
BREWERS: Outfielder Corey Patterson signed a minor-league contract.
CUBS: Former Rays left-handed specialist Trever Miller, and right-hander Rodrigo Lopez, agreed to minor-league deals.
METS: Right-hander Taylor Buchholz will sit out the 2012 season as he deals with depression and anxiety.
ORIOLES: Right-handers Armando Galarraga and Pat Neshek signed and were invited to spring training.
Information from Times wires was used in this report.Marc Topkin can be reached at [email protected] Follow his coverage on Twitter at @TBTimes_Rays.