2ND LD: Japanese pitcher Nomo decides to retire

 
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NEW YORK, July 17 (19:49) Kyodo

 
(EDS: UPDATING)

Japanese right-hander Hideo Nomo has decided to call it quits
after an illustrious career that included two no-hitters in the major
leagues.

''I want to continue, but I don't think I can deliver a
professional-level performance anymore. I believe many clubs think
the same way,'' Nomo told Kyodo News on Thursday.

''I knew I had to make some kind of decision. I knew I had to
let my fans know,'' Nomo said.

No club has tried to acquire his services since the 39-year-old
was released by the Kansas City Royals in late April.

On April 10, Nomo made his first major league appearance in
nearly three years. He pitched in two more games that month.

Asked if he felt a sense of achievement when he made the
long-awaited return to the majors, Nomo said, ''I didn't feel that
way. Some players say they have no regrets when they retire, but I
do.''

''I still have a strong desire to continue playing but thinking
only about my own feelings would only be of annoyance to the people
around me.''

Nomo, nicknamed ''Tornado'' for his unusual windup delivery and
often credited for starting a wave of Japanese players in the majors,
has won a total of 201 games, including in his five-year career in
Japan, against 155 losses.

He has a 123-109 record with a 4.24 ERA in 323 games in the
majors with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the New York Mets, the Milwaukee
Brewers, the Detroit Tigers, the Boston Red Sox, the Tampa Bay Devil
Rays and the Royals.

Nomo made his major league debut with the Dodgers on May 2, 1995
-- the only second Japanese to play in the big leagues and first
since Masanori Murakami for the San Francisco Giants in 1964-65.

Nomo won the National League Rookie of the Year after going 13-6
with a 2.54 ERA in 28 starts. He also started for the NL in the 1995
All-Star game.

Nomo led the NL with 236 strikeouts that year and was first in
the American League with 220 strikeouts in 2001.

His first no-hitter came in the Dodgers' 9-0 win over the
Colorado Rockies on Sept. 17, 1996 and the second was in a 3-0 win
over the Baltimore Orioles in his Red Sox debut on April 4, 2001.
 


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