Tom Koehler
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Tom Koehler announces retirement

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Pitcher Tom Koehler announced his retirement from baseball this morning on social media. The right-hander was on a minor league contract with the Pirates, working his way back from shoulder surgery last year.

Koehler, 33, hadn’t pitched in the majors since 2017 with the Marlins and Jays. Across parts of six seasons in the majors, spanning 784 1/3 innings (767 1/3 of which came with the Marlins), Koehler posted a 4.39 ERA with 604 strikeouts and 322 walks. Koehler did yeoman’s work soaking up innings on some otherwise very bad Marlins teams.

Koehler was optimistic coming into spring training, but didn’t feel right after throwing his first live bullpen, per MLB.com’s Jake Crouse. Koehler said, “It’s tough to be a pitcher when you can’t throw the ball. So that’s unfortunately where I’m at.”

Crouse asked Koehler about his post-playing career in baseball, perhaps as a coach or a manager. The hurler said, “I would not cross that one off a list. I would say that’s definitely a possibility. I’m still trying to understand all of the new-age stuff. I’ve read a lot of the books that have been written about sabermetrics and things like that, and I feel like I understand players very well.”

Braves ace Mike Soroka out for year with torn Achilles

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Atlanta Braves ace Mike Soroka is out for the season after tearing his right Achilles tendon Monday night against the New York Mets.

Soroka was hurt in the third inning after delivering a pitch to J.D. Davis, who grounded the ball toward first baseman Freddie Freeman.

Soroka broke toward first to cover the bag, only to go down on his first step off the mound. The right-hander knew right away it was a devastating injury, one that ensures he won’t be back on the mound until 2021.

“It’s a freak thing that happened,” manager Brian Snitker said, delivering the grim news after the Braves lost 7-2 to the Mets. “I’m sorry it did.”

Soroka yelled in obvious pain and tried to walk gingerly for a couple of steps before dropping to his knees. He couldn’t put any weight on the leg as he was helped toward the clubhouse with the assistance of Snitker and a trainer.

It was a major blow to the two-time defending NL East champion Braves, who had won five straight despite struggling to put together an effective rotation.

“Somebody else is going to get an opportunity,” Snitker said. “Things like that happen. These guys will regroup. Somebody is going to get an opportunity to do something really good. Our young guys are going to continue to get better. We’re going to be fine.”

Soroka, who turns 23 on Tuesday, made his first opening day start last month after going 13-4 with a dazzling 2.68 ERA in 2019 to finish second in NL Rookie of the Year balloting and sixth for the Cy Young Award.

Soroka was making his third start of the season. He came in having allowed just two earned runs over 11 1/3 innings but struggled against the Mets, giving up three hits and four walks. He was charged with four earned runs in 2 1/3 innings, the second-shortest outing of his career.

Unfortunately for Soroka, he won’t get a chance to make up for it this season.