Miami Marlins catcher Clint Sammons tosses a ball during an intrasquad spring training game baseball Sunday, March 4, 2012, in Jupiter, Fla. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
There was no big press conference, no tearful farewell to Clint Sammons' professional baseball career.
The Parkview grad, after two straight seasons that were cut short by knee injuries and little interest in free agency, decided on retirement last November, ending a career that began when the Atlanta Braves made him a sixth-round draft choice in 2004.
Sammons, highly regarded for his defensive skills at catcher, played 631 minor league games between 2005 and 2012, in addition to reaching the major leagues with the Braves for 31 games during the 2007, 2008 and 2009 seasons.
But his last two seasons, with the Miami Marlins' Pacific Coast League team, were both cut short by meniscus tears in his knee. He played only 13 games in 2011 and played in 43 games last year for the New Orleans Zephyrs, hitting just .188 with six home runs and 15 RBIs as he attempted to play through the injury.
"(The knee injuries) expedited the process a little bit," said Sammons, who turned 30 on May 15. "I'm not old, but I'm getting up there in baseball age. It weighed on my mind. Is it worth going back another year? After free agency started, there wasn't a ton of interest. Then this popped up and it made the decision a little easier.
"But it was still tough (to retire). You're taking a lifelong dream and closing the books on it. But it's nothing to hang my head about. I made the major leagues and not a lot of people can say that."
The "this" Sammons refers to is his new job, one he really enjoys and that allows him to stay involved with baseball.
The Marlins offered him a position as the catching coordinator for all of their minor league affiliates --the Zephyrs, the Jacksonville Suns, the Jupiter Hammerheads, the Greensboro Grasshoppers, the Batavia Muckdogs, the Gulf Coast League Marlins and the Dominican Summer League Marlins. The roving position will have him spending time throughout the system this summer, with an emphasis on Class AAA and AA, where the organization's top catching prospects play.
He was with the Marlins throughout spring training, but now his position includes training, evaluation, scouting and other front-office work. He's still in uniform on his road trips, where he gets to coach the catchers through on-field activities.
"It's a good gig," said Sammons, who started the new job Dec. 1. "It's a job that doesn't typically come to someone who just quit playing."
Even more enticing is a schedule that isn't as taxing as that of a player or coach.
Sammons is on the road for slightly more than half of the month, then he spends the rest of it home in the Atlanta area. That is especially nice since his wife Meredith welcomed the couple's first child, a boy named Tanner, on April 29.
Just two semesters shy of an economics degree from Georgia, where he played three seasons after winning football and baseball state titles as a Parkview senior, Sammons hopes to finish his college education in the near future, too.
As for now, the Marlins' job is keeping him content and busy.
"It's very open-ended at this point," Sammons said of the position's future. "I really enjoy it, especially now being in the position (during the season). I'm excited to see where it goes."