Former first overall pick and nine-year MLB veteran Luke Hochevar has decided to hang up his spikes, he tells MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan. He spent his entire career with the Royals, who selected him in the 2006 draft out of the University of Tennessee.
Hochevar was said to be pursuing a comeback earlier this year after undergoing a procedure to address thoracic outlet syndrome. But he was still experiencing pain when he attempted to throw despite being two years removed from the surgery.
Now 34 years of age, Hochevar made it to the majors after just 34 minor-league appearances. But he failed to gain traction as a starter, struggling mightily in that role before moving into the bullpen for the 2013 season.
That campaign turned into a coming-out party for Hochevar, who spun 70 1/3 innings of 1.92 ERA ball with 10.5 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9. But he missed the ensuing campaign after requiring Tommy John surgery, sidelining him for the club’s exciting run to the World Series and again putting his future in doubt as he entered free agency.
Hochevar ultimately decided to stay in Kansas City. Despite the health uncertainty, the club promised him $10MM on a two-year deal, which included a club option for 2017.
That decision worked out for all involved. Hochevar threw 88 innings of 3.78 ERA ball, with 9.1 K/9 against 2.6 BB/9, over the two guaranteed seasons of the contract. More importantly, he contributed 10 2/3 scoreless innings over nine postseason appearances in 2015, including five clean frames in the Royals’ successful return to the World Series.
In the end, Hochevar wraps up his playing career with 929 1/3 innings of 4.98 ERA pitching. That’s undoubtedly not what he or the K.C. org anticipated at the outset. But all’s well that ends well; he helped the team reach the promised land and tells Flanagan that he’ll retire feeling “grateful for the time I had in this game.” MLBTR wishes Hochevar the best in his new endeavors.