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Ex-MLB pitcher in KBO announces retirement

Sports 10:38 August 23, 2019

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, Aug. 23 (Yonhap) -- Ryu Jae-kuk, former major league pitcher who's been plying his trade in the South Korean league for six years, has announced his retirement.

Ryu's Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) club, the LG Twins, said Friday that the 36-year-old right-hander will call it quits because of his nagging back injury.

The Twins said Ryu had told the team about his plan to retire Thursday, and they decided to accept it Friday.

"After undergoing back surgery last year, Ryu wanted to bounce back this season, but his physical condition got even worse," the Twins said in a statement.

In this file photo from May 24, 2019, Ryu Jae-kuk of the LG Twins throws a pitch against the Lotte Giants in a Korea Baseball Organization regular season game at Sajik Stadium in Busan, 450 kilometers southeast of Seoul. (Yonhap)

Through the team, Ryu thanked the fans for their support throughout his career.

Ryu made his final start Wednesday against the Kia Tigers, giving up three earned runs on five hits in 2 2/3 innings. For the 2019 season, Ryu was 0-2 with a 4.22 ERA in 11 appearances.

Ryu signed with the Chicago Cubs out of a Seoul high school in 2001 and made his big league debut with the Cubs in 2006.

Ryu was then traded to the Tampa Bay Rays in 2007 and lasted two seasons there. He was selected off waivers by the San Diego Padres and signed with the Texas Rangers as a free agent but didn't make any appearance for either club.

For his big league career, Ryu went 1-3 with a 7.49 ERA in 28 appearances, including one start with the Cubs in 2006.

Ryu returned home and made his KBO debut with the Twins in 2013. He compiled a 46-37 record with a 4.66 ERA, but he missed the entire 2018 season with a back injury.

Ryu earned notoriety in the United States for killing an osprey by throwing a ball at the bird before a minor league game in 2003.

Ryu Jae-kuk of the LG Twins throws a pitch against the Kia Tigers in the top of the first inning of a Korea Baseball Organization regular season game at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on Aug. 21, 2019. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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