The Hiroshima Carp announced that they accepted player/Ni-gun hitting coach Akihiro Higashide's decision to retire. A press conference will be held in Hiroshima in the near future.
The thirty-five-year-old infielder suffered a serious injury to his left knee while sliding into home plate during an spring camp intra-squad game in 2013 and never managed to make it back to Ichi-gun. He added Ni-gun hitting coach to his title when he accepted the position last October.
Source: Chunichi Sports 10/8/2015, Daily Sports 10/8/2015, Daily Sports 10/8/2015
[UPDATE 10/10 @ 10:44pm]
Higashide held a press conference at the team offices in Minami-ku, Hiroshima earlier today.
Notes taken from various sources:
- He felt he did okay over the first fourteen years of his career. The last three, not so much.
- He made it into baseball because of his speed. He had decided to quit once his legs stopped working for him.
- He considered retiring after his leg injury during spring camp in 2013.
- He does not feel sad about the decision.
- Most of his memories are not positive: he remembers feeling like he would never make it professionally, not having the confidence to play in Ichi-gun games, and the taunts he heard after making mistakes. He does remember feeling happy when he could tell his skills were improving.
- He is proud of how he was able to actively approach older players around him for advice.
- He wishes (half-jokingly) he had a chance to pitch.
- Working as a coach this year, his main message to younger players was to enjoy and value the process, and to work through issues as they came up.
- He could remain in the organization as a coach.
Source: official announcement, Sponichi 10/10/2015, Daily Sports 10/10/2015
[UPDATE 10/11 @ 9:15pm]
The Carp are planning to hold a retirement ceremony for Higashide during fan appreciation day in November.
Source: Daily Sports 10/11/2015