Iannetta was in the New York Yankees organization on a minor-league contract. He made the team out of summer camp, but the Yankees designated him for assignment earlier this month before he got into a game. The 37-year-old was placed on the restricted list Friday after not reporting to their alternate training site.
"If I didn't make the team out of spring, I was going to call it a career. They knew that the whole time," Iannetta told Rosenthal. "That's kind of what transpired when they took me off the roster and wanted me to go to Scranton. I was like, no. I wasn't about to hang on or sit around and wait for someone to get hurt or get called up again. I've never wished anyone to get hurt in my entire career, and I wasn't about to start now."
New York had an immediate need for a backup catcher after Kyle Higashioka was placed on the injured list Saturday, but Iannetta said he wasn't considered for the open roster spot and the team didn't try to talk him out of retiring. Forty-year-old backstop Erik Kratz was promoted to the majors instead.
The Colorado Rockies drafted Iannetta out of UNC in 2004, and he debuted with them two years later. He's best remembered for his eight-year tenure in Denver, where he helped the Rockies to three playoff appearances and their lone National League pennant in 2007.
Iannetta compiled a .230/.345/.406 career slash line with 820 hits, 141 home runs, and 502 RBIs over 1,197 big-league games with the Rockies, Los Angeles Angels, Seattle Mariners, and Arizona Diamondbacks. The Rhode Island native also represented the United States at the 2009 World Baseball Classic.