Colby Rasmus’ father, Tony Rasmus, who coached him on those Russell County High and Phenix City Little League teams, posted his reaction to his son stepping away from the Tampa Bay Rays and Major League Baseball on his Facebook page:
“Well a sad day today as Colby’s hip just wouldn’t heal and I’m not sure he wanted to have another surgery on it. Playing in the big leagues is a tough gig and Colby’s body has taken a beating. So he’s saying goodbye to Major League Baseball. Man it’s sure been fun watching him play. 8 plus years and 165 home runs for a skinny kid from Phenix city Alabama just isn’t too bad.”
In an interview Friday with the Ledger-Enquirer, Tony Rasmus expressed bewilderment about the cryptic way the Rays announced his son’s departure.
Tony said, “I had so many people calling me saying, ‘My God, I’m praying for him and his family.’ And I’m like, ‘What? Why?’ We appreciate all the prayers, don’t get me wrong, but there’s nothing wrong. It’s just his hip.”
The Rays’ statement “reads like he should be on suicide watch,” Tony said. “It leaves the wrong impression, that there’s something happening, but there’s nothing,” he said.
The Ledger-Enquirer tried to get an explanation from the Rays. Ben Yarrington, the intern answering the phone in the team’s communications department, referred questions to Dave Haller, the team’s senior communications director, but the L-E didn’t reach Haller for comment Friday.
Tony said Colby told him he “wasn’t coming back until he’s healthy. He just didn’t want to be rehabbing the rest of the year, and I don’t think he wanted to take their money if he wasn’t playing. He’s a weirdo when it comes to that.”
Colby is more concerned, Tony said, “with being able to walk 10 years from now. … At this stage of the game, you don’t need the money.”
Asked whether Colby is retiring, Rasmus said, “If his hip heals up, he may want to come back and play again. You don’t want to close any door.”