“I didn’t get out of there with a good finish, and that’s a shame.”
Choo Chan (36), the “112-win pitcher” who dreamed of a comeback with the Lotte Giants, is hanging up his uniform and retiring.
Lotte said on Sunday, “Chau-chan has announced his intention to retire. We have requested a voluntary termination from the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO).”
After being released by the LG Twins last year, Chau-chan was determined to play his last game for Lotte, but injuries eventually forced him to hang up his jersey. “I worked hard, but the recovery period didn’t decrease after throwing the ball. I had no choice but to announce my retirement,” he said.
Chowchan was a durable pitcher. He pitched more than 150 innings in every season from 2015 to 2019, when he was a starter only, but injuries took their toll in 2020. After the first half of the 2020 season with LG, he was sidelined with shoulder pain. During his rehabilitation, the pain returned and set him back.
Chau-chan returned to action in early May 2021 and showed he was healthy, winning five games in three months. He was even named to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic baseball team. But then injuries struck again. In September 2021, he was diagnosed with a supraspinatus muscle tear and labral tear in his left shoulder and underwent surgery in the United States. His rehabilitation was lengthy, and LG decided to release him at the end of 2022.
Lotte reached out to Chau Chan. They recognized his experience and integrity. Once the highest-paid pitcher in free agency, Chau-chan signed for an annual salary of 50 million won (not including incentives). He didn’t care about the money, he just wanted to “get back on the mound.”
In mid-January, he traveled to Guam for the first spring training. On June 10, he pitched one inning of one-hit ball against the SSG Landers in the Futures (2nd Division) League at Sangdong Stadium, striking out two batters. His total pitch count was 13. His fastball topped out at 134 mph. It was Chowchan’s last official KBO appearance.
“It took me three weeks to recover from my June 10 start. “I tried to do more, but the pain didn’t go away quickly, so I thought, ‘I can’t do this anymore,'” he said.
After nearly three years of injury, he has no regrets. “It’s a shame to put the baseball down because it hurts, but I can’t help it. There’s nothing more I can do because I’m sick,” he said. “Lotte has been very considerate and created a good environment for me, so I rehabbed without regret. I’m also very grateful to manager Sung Min-kyu and the coaching staff.”
A seventh-round pick in the 2006 Samsung Secondary First Round, Chau Chan was an all-around pitcher. He split time between starting, middle and closing for the Samsung Lions and the national team. In her career, she compiled a 112-79 record with 32 shutouts and a 4.51 ERA. He won a pair of winning percentage and strikeout titles and represented his country at the World Baseball Classic, Olympic Games, Asian Games, and Premier 12.
His most memorable moment was winning the 2011 Korean Series. “I pitched one game in the Korean Series as a starter and one as a middle reliever. I was so happy to win my first championship in baseball. Since then, Samsung has won four consecutive Korean Series titles and five consecutive regular season titles,” he recalls.메이저놀이터
“It’s just a shame that I didn’t pitch well the last three years and quit,” Chau-chan said, “I played for a really good team. All three organizations had fans who loved the game and were very supportive. When I changed teams at the end, I said, “Hang in there,” and it’s a shame I couldn’t fulfill that promise and finish strong.”