TOKYO (AFP) — Japanese right-handed pitcher Hideo Nomo, who won National League Rookie of the Year honours in 1995, on Thursday announced his retirement from baseball.
The 39-year-old Nomo, who pitched two no-hitters in the US Major Leagues, announced his decision on his website, saying only: "Retiring. July 17, 2008. I announced my retirement from my playing career."
He told Japanese media that while he wanted to keep playing, he could no longer pitch competitively.
"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.
"I knew I had to make some kind of decision. I knew I had to let my fans know," he said.
Nomo, one of the first Japanese players to enjoy vast success in the United States, won a total of 201 games against 155 losses during his career in Japan and America.
After joining Japan's Kintetsu Buffalos in 1990, he moved to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1995. That year, he led the National League in strikeouts, earning Rookie of the Year honours.
Nomo threw his first no-hitter in 1996 with the Dodgers, against the Colorado Rockies. The second came while playing for the Boston Red Sox in the American League in 2001.
The pitcher, who has struggled with injuries for years, was released from the Kansas City Royals in April.
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