SEATTLE, Dec. 18 (UPI) -- The Seattle Mariners apparently are about to lose one of the most popular players in franchise history.
The Seattle Times reported Tuesday that 37-year-old rightfielder Jay Buhner has decided to retire, citing a series of injuries that have limited his playing time in recent years.
A Seattle spokesman would not confirm the retirement, saying that Buhner "has not called us yet." However, the newspaper said Buhner will make a formal announcement later this week.
Buhner spent 14 seasons in Seattle after being acquired from the New York Yankees in 1988 for Ken Phelps in what turned out to be the best trade the Mariners ever made.
Nicknamed "Bones" and known for his baldness, Buhner instantly endeared himself to Seattle fans for his aggressive style on the field and easy-going manner off it.
After playing in just 87 games in 1999 following "Tommy John" surgery, Buhner made a bid for Comeback Player of the Year in 2000 with 26 homers and 82 RBI.
But he reinjured his left foot in his first at-bat in spring training last year and played in only 19 games during the 2001 season.
Buhner produced his best years in the mid-1990s, recording three straight seasons with more than 40 homers and 100 RBI from 1995-1997.
Buhner was on the disabled list just once from 1990-1998, when he began a stretch of four major injuries in four years. In all, he missed almost 500 days, nearly three full seasons.
A close friend of former Mariner Ken Griffey Jr., Buhner batted just .254 in the regular season, but his averaged jumped to .309 in the postseason.
He ranks 82nd on the all-time homer list with 310 and has driven in 965 runs, an average of 25 homers and 75 RBI per season.