Fubon Guardians pitcher Hong-Chih Kuo announces retirement

Hong-Chi Kuo went down on one knee and symbolically kissed the mound to mark the end of his professional career before waving to the capacity crowd to bid fans farewell.

Taipei, Oct. 23-Fubon Guardians pitcher Hong-Chih Kuo (郭泓志) announced his retirement Monday night after his team was knocked out in the first round of the playoffs in Taiwan’s Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL, 中華職業棒球大聯盟).

In his final professional game, Kuo threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings as a reliever in the eighth and ninth innings. He was removed after walking two Lions batters.

Asked if he regretted how his career ended, the former Los Angeles Dodger said he had no regrets.

“Life is not perfect,” he said, adding that with his health issues, he was just really glad he could return to the game he loves and fight alongside his teammates.

Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Hong-Chih Kuo (56) and Los Angeles Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis (17) celebrate after defeating the Atlanta Braves 2-1 in a baseball game Saturday, Aug. 14, 2010 in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Kuo started the 2006 season as a relief pitcher.Between 2008-2010, Hong-Chih Kuo threw 170 innings of relief for the Dodgers, allowing 39 runs and generating 201 strikeouts. He was, when healthy and on the mound, one of the very best relievers in baseball. In 2010, Hong-Chih Kuo was one of baseball’s very best. He pitched in the All-Star Game, between Josh Johnson and Heath Bell. However, in 2011, he battled anxiety as he had before, and he underwent another surgery on his elbow.

Kuo came back to Taiwan to join the Uni-President 7-11 Lions in 2013 after signing a three-year contract worth NT$40.8 million (US$1.33 million), making him the highest paid player in CPBL history.

Due to injuries, however, he spent most of the time with the Lions’ minor league team and did not play a game for the Lions in the 2013 season.

He was not offered a new contract after his three-year deal expired and later joined the Guardians in July 2017.

In 117 games he played in the CPBL, he had a 5-14 record and an ERA of 3.81.