Koji Uehara

Xander Bogaerts honors Koji Uehara on Instagram after retirement

Xander Bogaerts honors Koji Uehara on Instagram after retirement

Former Boston Red Sox closer Koji Uehara has called it a career. Uehara last pitched in the MLB for the Chicago Cubs in 2017, and he announced his retirement from baseball in Japan.

Uehara, 44, had most recently played for the Yomiuri Giants, the franchise he began his career with back in 1999.

After Uehara's retirement, Xander Bogaerts took a moment to honor Uehara with a touching Instagram post.

Bogaerts had been effusive in his praise of his former teammate over the years. Recently, Bogaerts said that the Red Sox wouldn't have won the 2013 World Series without Uehara's performance.

"The ’13 team was a big success because of him," said Bogaerts, per Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe.

In his four-year career with the Red Sox, Uehara posted a 14-13 record with a 2.16 ERA, 291 strikeouts, and 79 saves. During the 2013 postseason, he recorded 7 saves and struck out 17 batters en route to winning the ALCS MVP award.

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Ex-Red Sox closer Koji Uehara confirms retirement from baseball

koji_uehara.jpg
AP Images

Ex-Red Sox closer Koji Uehara confirms retirement from baseball

"High Five City" officially is no more.

Former Boston Red Sox closer Koji Uehara announced his retirement from baseball Sunday, confirming reports from The Japan Times and Kyodo News' Jim Allen while thanking fans for their continued support in a Twitter post.

Red Sox fans will remember Uehara as the lovable reliever who dazzled in the 2013 postseason and recorded the final out of the 2013 World Series.

The Japan native played some of his best baseball in Boston from 2013 to 2016, posting a 1.09 ERA with 21 saves in 2013 and earning All-Star honors the following season. He finished with a 2.19 ERA and 79 saves with the Red Sox over four seasons.

Uehara played one year for the Chicago Cubs in 2017 before returning to Japan in 2018 to play for the Yomiuri Giants of the Nippon Professional Baseball league. He appeared in nine games this season before hanging them up at age 44.

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Comparing Craig Kimbrel to '04, '07 and '13 closers

Comparing Craig Kimbrel to '04, '07 and '13 closers

For the next few days, we'll be reminiscing on 2004, 2007, and 2013 Red Sox champions at each position and seeing how they stack up against their 2018 counterparts. Today, we discuss the closers. . .

Keith Foulke, 2004

Regular season: 32 saves, 2.17 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 79 strikeouts

Playoffs: 3 saves, 0.64 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 19 strikeouts

Year in summary: Foulke was just what the doctor ordered for the Red Sox in 2004. His first season in Boston was a great one, topped off by one of the most memorable calls in Boston sports history, "Back to Foulke, Red Sox fans have longed to hear it, the Boston Red Sox are World Champions."

Jonathan Papelbon, 2007

Regular season: 37 saves, 1.85 ERA, 0.77 WHIP, 84 strikeouts

Playoffs: 4 saves, 0.00 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, 7 strikeouts

Year in summary: A season after finishing second in AL Rookie Of the Year voting, Papelbon established himself as one of the most dominant closers in the league and helped Boston bring home its second championship in four years.

Koji Uehara, 2013

Regular season: 21 saves, 1.09 ERA, 0.57 WHIP, 101 strikeouts

Playoffs: 7 saves, 0.66 ERA, 0.51 WHIP, 16 strikeouts

Year in summary: Koji Uehara was about as close one can get to being unhittable in 2013. In fact he was so dominant, he finished seventh in Cy Young voting and 19th in MVP voting even though he didn't earn the closing role until June. Uehara put the finishing touch on his amazing season by striking out Matt Carpenter to bring Boston yet another World Series title.

Craig Kimbrel, 2018

Regular season: 42 saves, 2.79 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 93 strikeouts

Year in summary: Kimbrel was solid, albeit inconsistent throughout the 2018 season. But when he's on, no closer in the game has better stuff than the bearded right-hander. Now, he'll look to slam the door shut on his postseason opponents, assuming the rest of the shaky Sox bullpen can safely bridge the gap to him.

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