Pirates' Kuwata to retire this afternoon
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BRADENTON, Fla. --- Masumi Kuwata, a baseball superstar in his native Japan, will announce his retirement after the Pirates' game this afternoon, sources said.
Kuwata, 40, pitched well this spring -- 1.80 ERA, five hits in five innings -- but he had not pitched since March 18, and it had become clear he would not make the 25-man roster. That being the case, he privately informed management yesterday of his decision.
The Pirates offered him a chance to pitch today against the Detroit Tigers, one final time, but respectfully declined and said he preferred to simply watch the game from the bullpen.
General manager Neal Huntington also offered him a coaching job, and he turned that down, too.
Kuwata, a 20-year veteran in the Japanese Central League and 1994 most valuable player, fulfilled his dream of pitching in Major League Baseball last year when the Pirates promoted him June 9 for a game at Yankee Stadium. He would make 19 appearances and have a 9.43 ERA.
His departure will leave the Pirates with 28 players in camp, including injured outfielder Chris Duffy. It also will reduce the number of relievers vying for three official bullpen openings to five: Franquelis Osoria, Phil Dumatrait, Sean Burnett, Evan Meek and Hector Carrasco.
There also is one opening on the 40-man roster after the many moves today, meaning Burnett or Carrasco could be added without anyone else having to come off.
More details in tomorrow's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
First Published March 26, 2008 11:55 am