'I want to finally be known as just Ty': Angels pitcher Ty Buttrey is leaving baseball

Los Angeles Angels relief pitcher Ty Buttrey reacts after giving up a solo home run to Colorado Rockies' Ryan McMahon.
Angels relief pitcher Ty Buttrey reacts after giving up a home run to the Colorado Rockies in September. (David Zalubowski / Associated Press)

Angels reliever Ty Buttrey announced Saturday that he is leaving baseball, explaining in an almost 600-word statement posted to Instagram that he had lost his love for the sport and was ready to go a different direction in life.

It came a day after Angels manager Joe Maddon announced that Buttrey, a 24-year-old right-handed reliever, would be placed on the restricted list because he hadn’t reported to the team’s alternate training site. A mainstay in the Angels bullpen since his MLB debut in 2018, Buttrey failed to make the opening day roster coming out of spring training this year.

“I made the decision to leave baseball,” Buttrey wrote in the statement. “I contacted the Angels and they asked me to give it some time and to think about it. Part of the process was to be optioned, which I accepted. I took the additional time to make sure my thoughts were clear. I recontacted the Angels and told them I was leaving the game for my own personal reasons.”

Buttrey added: “I want to finally be known as just Ty, not the baseball player. I completely lost the drive to continue doing something that I didn’t love because in my mind, I already accomplished it. It was never my dream to make it to the Hall of Fame, win a World Series, or become an All-Star. In my head, I accomplished what I wanted, to prove people wrong and accomplish something extremely hard.”

In his statement, Buttrey said he spent his whole life having “played the game for everyone else. I just wanted to prove everyone wrong.” He relayed a story about being motivated by a teacher who told him he would never make it to the big leagues, and noted, “I always thought baseball was a cool job. I also knew that same job paid extremely well. What young kid doesn’t want a cool job that pays well?”

Despite being a fourth-round draft pick of the Boston Red Sox in 2012 and leading the Angels in relief appearances in 2019, when he posted a 3.98 ERA, Buttrey said he never loved the job. He worked hard to improve — right up through this spring, saying last month he was trying to better control his tempo on the mound after slumping to a 5.91 ERA in 2020 — but realized he had lost the ambition to keep pursuing a career in the sport.

“Unfortunately, the older I got, the more I realized this dream to play professional baseball wasn’t what I actually wanted,” Buttrey said, adding: “Money and proving people wrong are short term motivators, especially when you never actually loved the game you dedicated the last 24 years of your life to.”

Buttrey thanked Angels fans and the organization for supporting him and his wife during his career.

“It’s time for Sam and I to start living the life we really want,” he said. “I am beyond excited to finally be a normal, hardworking dude, that loves his family and friends.”

On Friday, before Buttrey’s announcement, Maddon said he was surprised to hear the pitcher hadn’t reported to the alternate site, and that there had been no indication Buttrey was considering such a decision when he was optioned last weekend.

But Maddon also said he also wanted “to honor his wishes” and that, “there’s a lot of times, when you get that age, you become confused by different things and you choose different routes and maybe something’s more important. It’s one of those things that, it’s up to the individual. I respect it. I respect him.”

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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