Monday, shortly before crowds gathered on the revamped D.C. waterfront to view a documentary about the Nationals’ march to the 2019 World Series title, Koda Glover was on social media thanking well-wishers following a difficult decision.
Glover, 26, announced his retirement from Major League Baseball with a Twitter post earlier in the day. He thanked his teammates, the organization, and his parents for helping him to arrive in the major leagues in 2016. The journey across the next three seasons became one of derailed potential. One injury led to another then another. Glover spent more time marooned in West Palm Beach at extended spring training the last two years than in Nationals Park.
When Glover arrived in 2016, he immediately presented traits often associated with closers. He had the size, stuff and demeanor -- 6-foot-5, high-90s fastball, stern mentality. Glover started the season with Single-A Potomac but was on a major-league mound by July 20. He began well, then finished poorly. And injured.
Glover’s run from there included trials so common for young relievers: he tried to pitch through injury in order to prove his standing in the major leagues. Eventually, hip, back and arm problems chipped away at his availability and spirit. Glover was stuck in a seemingly endless rehabilitation cycle. When returning to the big leagues in August of 2018, Glover admitted to the influence of the mental grind while trying to fix his physical issues.
“I mean, yeah, it took a toll on me, honestly,” Glover said then. “I’m not gonna lie to you. Being down in Florida, getting there, getting another MRI, and they’re like ‘you can’t go’ again, it takes a toll on you. Especially when you’re this young and you keep having these injuries, you’re like I shouldn’t be having to deal with this yet. But it’s one of them things and I’m glad I’m through and it’s been a hell of a journey. But I’m finally here and I’m happy.”
Glover pitched 1/3 of an inning and walked three in his lone 2019 spring training appearance. He didn’t pitch again with the major-league team because of forearm and elbow pain.
His Monday post preceded the Nationals’ announcement they did not tender him a contract. Just four years after zooming into the major leagues as the closer of the future, Glover is done.
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