MILWAUKEE -- Before playing the 2,000th game of his Major League career on Wednesday, Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez said definitively for the first time that he intends to keep going.
"I'm going to go for 2,500," said Ramirez. "So we'll see what happens. I'm only 36, I'll be OK."
In past discussions, Ramirez always said he would make a decision after the season. But something changed this season, one in which the 17-year veteran made the National League All-Star team for the third time.
"Yeah, I'm playing past this year, for sure," Ramirez said. "I don't know how much longer, but I have a few more years. I talked to my family and stuff, and I'll see where I'm at after the season, but I feel good now. Not production -- health. My body is telling me I can keep playing, so I'm going to do it."
Most games PLAYED by active MAJOR LEAGUERS
A much younger Brewer pondered the magnitude of 2,000 games.
"That sounds like a ridiculous amount of games," said 24-year-old second baseman Scooter Gennett, who has played in 158. "That's a feat in itself, playing that many years and being pretty healthy all the way through. He's something special."
"And playing third base, too," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke added. "Sometimes you go to first and then you DH. So he's still out there playing."
Ramirez is in the final guaranteed season of a three-year contract that includes a $14 million mutual option. If that option is declined, the Brewers owe Ramirez a $4 million buyout. With no notable third-base prospects at the upper levels of the Minor Leagues, Milwaukee would probably have to fill the position from outside the organization if Ramirez departs after this season.
"That I don't think about," Ramirez said. "I don't really like to talk contracts during the season. They haven't approached me about anything, either, so we'll see what happens. I don't know [about an extension]. We'll see.
"I like it here. That's the reason I came here. No regrets. I've had a great three years here. It's a great place to play baseball. Great stadium; we have a roof and don't have to worry about conditions. Good team; we just missed the playoffs my first year here, and this year we're in the pennant race. We have a good team. It was the right choice for myself."
Ramirez played game No. 2,000 very near the spot he played No. 1. He was a 19-year-old Pittsburgh Pirates prospect when he debuted at County Stadium on May 26, 1998, with a second-inning flyout against Brewers left-hander Scott Karl. Ramirez went 0-for-3 that day and the Brewers won, 3-2, with a pair of runs in the bottom of the ninth inning.
"It's been worth it," Ramirez said of the years that have followed. "I have fun. I achieved my goal of being a Major League player for a long time. All I have left to do is win. Hopefully, I do it this year."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. Caitlin Swieca is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.