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Baseball: SoftBank's record-holding closer Sarfate retires

This supplied photo shows SoftBank Hawks pitcher Dennis Sarfate (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The SoftBank Hawks announced the retirement Tuesday of closer Dennis Sarfate, who holds the Nippon Professional Baseball single-season record for saves with 54 in 2017.

    The 40-year-old right-hander, who is fifth all-time in NPB with 234 career saves, had not pitched for the Pacific League club's first team since undergoing right groin surgery in April 2018.

    He had been rehabilitating in his native United States after going under the knife again in October last year.

    "Today I have announced that I will retire from baseball. I never thought it would end the way it did, but what a ride it was," tweeted Sarfate, who was in the final year of his three-year contract.

    After playing for the Milwaukee Brewers, Houston Astros and Baltimore Orioles in the majors, Sarfate moved to Japan in 2011, signing with the Central League's Hiroshima Carp, where he spent two seasons.

    After a year with the Seibu Lions in the PL, Sarfate joined the Hawks and helped them rise to NPB dominance under former manager Kimiyasu Kudo.

    "The last three years were the most difficult of my career but all great things have to come to an end," Sarfate said in a statement from the Hawks.

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