Hideki Irabu’s cause of death ruled as “self-inflicted with rope”

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Hideki Irabu’s death last month was confirmed as a suicide and today the Los Angeles department of public health released his death certificate, which lists “self-inflicted with rope” as the official cause of death.

Irabu, who was 42 years old and married with two children, passed away on July 27 at his home in Los Angeles.

Last year in California he was arrested for drunk driving and three years ago in Japan he was arrested for allegedly assaulting a bar manager after drinking approximately 20 glasses of beer.

Irabu starred in Japan before signing with the Padres in 1997, later being traded to the Yankees where he fell well short of the lofty expectations and was called a “fat toad” by owner George Steinbrenner.

He was far from a total bust in New York, however, going 24-16 with a 4.44 ERA in two full seasons as a starter. Irabu was then traded to the Expos for Jake Westbrook and signed with the Rangers as a free agent in 2002 before returning to Japan to finish his career.

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, please seek help. Give the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline a call at 1-800-273-8255.

Cubs fire pitching coach Chris Bosio

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In something of a surprising move, the Chicago Cubs fired their pitching coach, Chris Bosio on Saturday. Bosio had held the job since the 2011-12 offseason.

The Cubs made the NLCS this year, but were nowhere as near the formidable as their 2016 World Series champion iteration. While there were several reasons for that, one was that the pitching staff, which featured multiple, better-than-expected performances in 2016, but took a step back in 2017. Some of that was personnel — Joe Maddon did not have Aroldis Chapman to call on in the postseason like he did last year — and a lot of that was mere regression from veterans like Jon Lester and John Lackey. A lot of it had to do with a much higher walk rate this year than in the past.

Still, there was no chatter during the season or at the time of the Cubs’ playoff exit the other day that Bosio might be a fall guy. The Chicago Tribune reports that it was Joe Maddon’s call and that he had grown displeased with Bosio. The Tribune report suggests that Cubs pitchers will be displeased with the move as they were devoted to Bosio. Coaches, of course, come and go, so I suspect they’ll get over it.

Whatever the case, Bosio likely won’t say unemployed for long. He is widely credited with helping Jake Arrieta transform from a project to an ace and for the considerable and the somewhat unexpectedly successful development of Kyle Hendricks. The Tribune suggests that he’d be a good fit in Minnesota, where his former teammate Paul Molitor is in search of a new pitching coach.

There are several intriguing coaches available at the moment, most notably Mike Maddux, who has been the Nationals pitching coach but whose status is now in flux given the firing of Dusty Baker. Maddux’s brother Greg, of course, is a spring training pitching instructor for the Cubs. The Tribune adds that Maddon may look to his old Tampa Bay Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey or, possibly, even recently fired Red Sox manager John Farrell, who made his bones as a pitching coach.