Fri, Sep 30, 2011 - Page 20 News List

Taiwan-born Dodgers pitcher mulls retiring

Staff Writer, with CNA

Kuo Hong-chih, a left-handed Taiwanese pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers, shocked fans at home on Wednesday by saying he was not sure whether he would continue his baseball career.

According to an article on the Dodgers official Web site, Kuo had said in an interview that he was not sure whether wearing the Dodgers uniform on Wednesday was his last time.

Nobody on the Dodgers’ current roster has been with the team longer than Kuo, who signed in 1999. He has since fought through four elbow operations, but the anxiety disorder that sidelined him this year has made it uncertain whether he would continue playing.

The 30-year-old said in an interview with Dodgers Web site reporter Ken Gurnick that he would soon return to Taiwan and think it over.

“I need a break,” Kuo said. “I love baseball and that’s why I keep going. If I want to still play and somebody wants to give me a try, I play. If not, fine with me. I’ll miss it, but I don’t want to play unless I enjoy it again.”

The Dodgers article said Kuo still shows flashes of the brilliance that led to a 1.20 ERA and an All-Star appearance last year, but 23 walks in 27 innings this year and a 9.00 ERA came with the yips, baseball’s pitching manifestation of anxiety disorder.

During the just-concluded -season, Kuo had spells when he did not know where the ball was going, and he said he did not want to let down a team that is counting on him.

Kuo said in the interview that the upcoming offseason would be more interesting because he has to decide if he can get his mind set to do whatever he has to do to enjoy baseball again.

If not, Kuo said he would quit baseball altogether. Perhaps, he would open a restaurant in his hometown in southern Taiwan.

“I like to eat,” he said in the interview. “I like to cook, but I’m not very good at it.”

According to the article, the Dodgers will also have a decision to make if Kuo wants to return. Kuo said he understood that.

“They gave me the opportunity to come back and the team has to make a decision,” he said. “They’ve done everything for me. I couldn’t have done it by myself. I’m lucky they gave me the opportunity to keep going.”

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