“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have regrets,” says 27-year-old Japanese pitcher who came to Korea to play in the KBO.

Japanese left-handed pitcher Takuma Kubo (27), who had considered South Korea to extend his career, has decided to retire. He was only born in 1996, but he will hang up his uniform early.

Japan’s Sportshochi broke the news of Kubo’s retirement on the 27th, saying, “After receiving an out-of-play notice from the Yakult Swallows in October, Kubo participated in a joint tryout with 12 clubs on the 15th, striking out two batters, but did not receive an offer. He also explored playing in the Korean Professional Baseball Organization, but decided to hang up his uniform.

Kubo, who was selected by the Yakult with the seventh overall pick in the 2018 draft after playing at Jiyugaoka High School and Kyushu Public University, had a 4-1 record with a 4.31 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 60 games (54⅓ innings) in four seasons with the first team after making his debut in 2019.

In 2022, he went 1-7 with a 2.70 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 29 games (26⅔ innings), anchoring the Yakult bullpen in the second half of the season and helping them win the Central League title. He also made two appearances in the Japan Series, throwing ⅔ scoreless innings out of the left-handed bullpen.

This year, however, he only made five appearances (three innings) with the first team. With one hold and a 6.00 ERA, he made his final appearance in the first team on May 5 against the DeNA BayStars in Yokohama, and remained in the second team. In 38 games (33⅔ innings), he went 4-3 with one save and a 4.54 ERA. 보스토토

At only 27 years old and a member of the league championship team just a year earlier, Kuboro was understandably frustrated. Kuboro tried out for a joint tryout with 12 Japanese clubs, but he ran into some practical difficulties. KBO teams weren’t interested in second-tier Japanese pitchers.

There have only been six Japanese foreign players in the KBO, including Doosan pitcher Satoshi Iriki in 2003, Lotte pitcher Kazuma Mori the same year, SK infielder Kazuhiko Shiotani in 2006, Heroes pitcher Shingo Takatsu in 2008, SK and Samsung pitchers Ken Kadokura from 2009-2011, and LG pitcher Shinya Okamoto in 2010. Since Kadokura was released by Samsung in July 2011, there have been no Japanese foreign players in the KBO for more than 12 years.


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