Just a couple of years ago, right-handers Zack Greinke and Gil Meche were the big one-two of the Kansas City Royals’ pitching rotation. Neither will be on the roster when the team comes together for spring training a little over a month from now.
In a surprising disclosure today, the veteran Meche announced his retirement from baseball after 10 seasons in the major leagues. This follows the recent trade of former ace and Cy Young Award pitcher Greinke to the Milwaukee Brewers.
Meche’s decision to leave baseball came in a written statement posted on the Royals’ website.
“As a competitor my entire life, this is the hardest decision that I’ve ever faced, Meche said. “It’s not fair to my family or the Kansas City Royals that I attempt to pitch any more. I came into this game as a starting pitcher and, unfortunately, my health – more accurately, my shoulder – has deteriorated to the point where surgery would be the only option, and at this stage of my life, I would prefer to call it a career rather than to attempt to pitch in relief for the final year of my contract.”
Meche was scheduled to make $12 million this coming season in the final year of a five-year $55 million contract signed in 2007. The 31-year-old right-handed pitcher came to the Royals as a free-agent from the Seattle Mariners, where he began his major-league career in 1999.
In his four seasons with the Royals, Meche posted a record of 29-38 as a starting pitcher. His best season in Kansas City was 2007, when he pitched a career-high 216 innings with an earned run average of 3.67. He also was selected as a reserve on the American League All-Star team that season.
The following year, in 2008, Meche went 14-11 as the team’s No. 1 starter, with an ERA of 3.98. He was injured a good portion of the season in 2009, as his won-lost record dropped to 6-10 and his ERA jumped to 5.09. Meche’s shoulder problems continued into last season. He came off the disabled list late in the 2010 season, but was not effective, going 0-5 with a 5.69 ERA in nine starts.
In his 10 seasons in Major League Baseball, Meche went 84-83 with the Royals and Mariners, with a 4.49 career ERA.
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