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Former Blue Jays Pitcher Jesse Litsch Retires


In some sad but altogether expected news this morning, former Blue Jays pitcher Jesse Litsch announced his retirement from baseball. The righty had been struggling ever since he came down with an infection from a platelet-rich plasmas (PRP) injection in 2012. Since then he's undergone more surgery, but nothing seems to have worked as the Florida-native took to his Twitter page today to announce that it was all for naught:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>I hate to have to do this but I am announcing my retirement from playing the game that I love today but hopefully able to stay in the game</p>&mdash; jesse litsch (@JesseLitsch) <a href="">August 21, 2014</a></blockquote>

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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Got a message for all athletes out there young and old play every game as if it&#39;s your last because you never know when that time will come</p>&mdash; jesse litsch (@JesseLitsch) <a href="">August 21, 2014</a></blockquote>

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Litsch was drafted in the 24th round of the 2004 draft and pitched well enough in the minors to get the promotion to the Blue Jays in early 2007. The fan favourite had two solid years in the Blue Jays rotation pitching to an ERA of 3.81 in 2007 and 3.58 in 2008. Tommy John surgery derailed his 2009 year and forced him to miss much of the next season as well. His final year in 2011 was split between the rotation and bullpen, ending with an ERA of 4.44 over 75.0 innings.

His injury troubles got worse during Spring Training in 2012 when another visit to Dr. James Andrews led to the PRP injection that caused him to miss the whole year and followed with him being outrighted to Buffalo, but Litsch chose free agency instead. He went on to undergo more procedures to try and get his arm back in pitching shape, but it just never returned to form. Unfortunately for Litsch, the worry he confessed to Shi Davidi in the winter of 2012 has come true:

My last pitch in the big-leagues is a home run (by Kelly Shoppach) off the top of the roof at Tropicana Field — I don’t want that to be my last pitch."

In terms of personal memories, the 2007 season was one of the first that I was heavily invested in the Blue Jays and lived and died with every pitch. My 13-year-old brain didn't understand the nuances of baseball yet, but I distinctly remember rooting for a likeable starting rotation that consisted of  Roy Halladay, Shaun Marcum, Dustin McGowan, and the aforementioned Litsch. You don't realize it at the time, but memories like those are the type that stick with you as you grow up and baseball loses some of the childhood magic that comes flying back with videos like these:

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