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06/21/11 6:14 PM ET

Pudge reflects on 20 years in the Major Leagues

WASHINGTON -- Ivan Rodriguez made his Major League debut 20 years ago Monday. He was just 19, the starting catcher for the Rangers, and he went 1-for-4 with two RBIs against the White Sox.

For most of his years in the big leagues, Rodriguez, now 39, was among the best catchers in baseball. He won 13 Gold Gloves, and was voted the American League Most Valuable Player in 1999. He is 161 hits away from 3,000 for his career.

"It's good. It's always nice to be playing for this long. I still have a lot left in my career," Rodriguez said. "To be honest with you, time goes by very fast. It's hard to believe it's 20 years now. When you keep yourself in good shape, you are going to be in this sport for a long time."

Asked what he is most proud of, he said, "I take a lot of pride in my defense. That's my main game. I want to win for the team. I'm a winner. I'm not a loser, and that's why I play this game for such a long time. I play the game 100 percent every single day. When you do that, you will play for a long time."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.