Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Tigers starter Randy Messenger to retire after season

Kyodo

Veteran pitcher Randy Messenger will retire at the end of this season, the Hanshin Tigers announced Friday, the same day he formally told the club of his decision.

The 38-year-old right-hander, who joined the Tigers in 2010, has an NPB career record of 98-84 over 10 seasons with a 3.13 ERA. He has struggled with fitness this season, in which he has posted a 3-7 record with a 4.69 ERA.

Tiger general manager Osamu Tanimoto said Messenger, who had been looking to come back from a right shoulder injury, pitched with the farm team on Thursday against an independent league club, allowing four runs and issuing six walks over five innings.

According to Tanimoto, Messenger was not satisfied with the results, implying his work was unworthy of the Tigers’ uniform.

“He’s been the anchor of our pitching staff for many years,” first-year manager Akihiro Yano said.

The Tigers’ Opening Day starter this year for the fifth straight season and sixth overall, Messenger led the Central League in wins in 2014, and in strikeouts in 2013 and 2014.

Messenger pitched in 173 major league games before arriving in Japan. Before joining the Tigers, he pitched for the Florida Marlins, San Francisco Giants and Seattle Mariners.

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