The media learned today that forty-year-old Kazuhisa Ishii is planning to retire at the end of the season. The Seibu Lions have already accepted the decision. A press conference is scheduled for later today.
Ishii had problems with his left shoulder during spring camp this year and started the season at Ni-gun. When he finally made it to the active roster on July 30, he was used in relief and was unable to adjust. Since being taken off the active roster on August 15, he has not pitched in any Ni-gun games.
UPDATE @ 8:02pm -
The Lions held a press conference for Ishii at the team offices in Tokorozawa today.
Sponichi has posted portions of the press conference.
How do you feel?
It was a long run. It was a very fulfilling career. I feel satisfied enough to begin the second stage of my life.
How were the last twenty-two years?
I think it was not only about baseball, but about life itself. I would like to try and give back to that.
Anything left undone?
It is not like I can do anything about that. I think it is better to forget than nitpick about those kind of things.
Which hitter made a lasting impression on you?
Barry Bonds. At the time, he was the world's best hitter. I felt lucky to have a chance to face him. I was able to experience an atmosphere like no other.
You were close to reaching 200 NPB+MLB wins.
No interest. I do not really place much value in those numbers. I care more about whether the things I did will help me reach the next step in life.
Anything you would like to say to your teammates?
I would like them to stay healthy and enjoy their careers until the end. I never once thought about other people as rivals when I played the game.
Source: Sponichi 9/24/2013
It seems Ishii applied for a job at Yoshimoto Kogyo and got it. His trial period begins in April next year.
Source: Nikkan Sports 9/24/2013
The Lions' official announcement can be found here.
UPDATE 9/25 @ 2:39pm -
Ishii apparently told Takayuki Kishi and Yusei Kikuchi in January during workouts in Hawaii that he wanted to work extra hard because this was going to be his last year.
Source: Daily Sports 9/25/2013