Originally posted by ESPN/APTodd Zeile will strap on his catcher's gear one last time.
Zeile, who intends to retire at the end of this season, will start behind the plate for the first time in 14 years Friday night when the New York Mets visit the Pittsburgh Pirates.
He has not caught since 1990 with St. Louis, his second year in the majors.
"It's exciting," Zeile said Thursday before the Mets played Atlanta. "I think I'll be a little nervous."
The 39-year-old Zeile has spent most of his career at third base and first base. But he's been catching in the bullpen lately, and he told Mets manager Art Howe he would like to catch in a game one more time before he calls it quits.
"It's important to him," Howe said. "I asked him how important it was to him and he said he really wanted to catch again. So, I asked him if he wanted to catch an inning or a whole game, and he said he wanted to catch a full game."
Tom Glavine will be the Mets' starting pitcher Friday, and Zeile has been working with the left-hander.
"I really wanted him to catch here in front of our fans, but he's probably most comfortable catching Tommy," Howe said.
"I'm just hoping Glav goes all nine innings," Zeile said.
The last time Zeile caught in a major league game was Sept. 1, 1990, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. It's the second-longest span between appearances behind the plate. Gabby Street, a catcher for Cincinnati, Boston (NL), Washington and the New York Yankees from 1904-1912, caught in one game 19 years after his last appearance while managing the Cardinals in 1931.
Zeile came up through St. Louis' system as a catcher and played 128 games behind the plate. But the Cardinals, then managed by Joe Torre, moved Zeile to third base to make room for future Gold Glove winner Tom Pagnozzi.
Good for them. How many guys who switch positions get to go back one last time before they hang 'em up...