Koji Uehara, the oldest pitcher in Japanese pro baseball and a former Major Leaguer, says he has retired from the sport.
The 44-year old made the announcement at a news conference at a hotel in Tokyo on Monday.
Uehara became tearful when he said he will end his 21 years as a professional. He thanked everyone who has been involved in his career.
Last year, Uehara rejoined Japan's Yomiuri Giants after 10 years in the United States, where he played for Major League teams including the Boston Red Sox.
He revealed he had decided some time ago that this season would be his last. He said he was in good form after surgery on his left knee, but that his performances in the farm team were dismal.
He said he would like to keep on playing just a little longer, but will never wear a baseball uniform again now that he has made his decision.
When reflecting on his pro career, Uehara said he was motivated solely by a determination to not lose.
He said he gave everything he had when training with younger players, and that he'd be happy if his attitude inspired people around him.