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DeRosa's decision on next season still not settled

DeRosa's decision on next season still not settled

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TORONTO -- With just two weeks left in the regular season, Mark DeRosa isn't any closer to coming to a decision on whether or not he'll return in 2014.

The Blue Jays have a $750,000 club option on the veteran infielder, but his return is dependent on whether he decides to retire at the end of the season.

"To be honest with you, this season has been fun, it's been a grind. … But I really just want to get away for a minute, reestablish myself as a husband and father, and then kind of decide whether I want to keep going," DeRosa said. "Obviously, they have much bigger fish to fry than me, and I understand that. Once I hear what direction they kind of want to go with, then it's a decision to be made by me and my wife."

It's likely that the club will pick up the option on DeRosa with the way he's performed this year, so the decision to return is more on the player than it is the club.

Over 184 at-bats DeRosa has seven home runs, 32 RBIs, 21 runs scored, with a .228 batting average, and .322 OBP. Good numbers for limited time, especially in the power department, as the veteran's wrist issues of the past three seasons finally seem to be behind him.

In a way, that makes the decision even harder for DeRosa.

"To be honest with you, the easiest thing would have been to chalk it up to being damaged goods and not give it another try, so I'm proud of the fact that I played," DeRosa said. "That being said, there's a lot that goes into getting ready for this grind. At 38 years old, regardless of the lack of playing time, the body doesn't respond the way you want it to. All those things will come into play. At the end of the day, I love the competition. From every former player I ever come across, they say, 'Make the team rip it off of you.' There's a part of me that truly believes that, and there's a part of me that wants to stop playing on my own terms."

At this stage in life, with a family and kids, the decision is not just about him.

DeRosa is well aware of the sacrifices his family has had to make for him to continue to play the game he loves, and at some point he wants to return the favor and be that family man, something that's tough to do during the season.

"I feel like I've had to be a very selfish person in this profession. I feel you got to commit 100 percent if you're going to hang around here and be great, or be good," DeRosa said. "A lot of people have had to take a back seat to it. I never felt like that was fair, but I thought it was the best way to approach it for me. I think the nicest thing to do, when I am done playing, is be the least selfish person in my family. Let other people do what they've always wanted to do."

"My two young kids rarely see me. I want a relationship with them. I don't want them to just know that that's the guy that goes on TV every day at 7 o'clock every night. I want them to know that I'm there for them the way my parents were there for me. Those are the things that I battle with. Whether or not playing one more year is ultimately worth it."

It's this turmoil that makes this upcoming decision extremely tough, especially considering that DeRosa still believes he can compete at this level.

Making matters even more difficult for him is that he knows the decision to retire is finite, absolute, and he'll never again get to put on cleats as a Major League Baseball player.

"It's scary. I feel like it's scary. It shouldn't be," DeRosa said. "I think the thing that people should understand that this has been my job since I was five. I never looked at it like that, but it's all I've known. … To just walk away, I don't know how I'm going to react to that. I think it'll be a positive, because I've put my best foot forward and I'm proud of what I accomplished. But at the same time, I'll never play in the big leagues again. It's all I ever dreamed of doing. I don't know. It's the great unknown question."

Evan Peaslee is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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