Ex-Red Sox closer Koji Uehara announces retirement

Uehara pitched in Boston for four seasons.

Boston, MA - 9/16/2016 - (8th inning) Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Koji Uehara (19) receives a round of high 5's after pitching a 1-2-3 out clean eighth inning. The Boston Red Sox take on the New York Yankees in Game 2 of a 3 game series at Fenway Park.  -  (Barry Chin/Globe Staff), Section:  Sports, Reporter:  Peter Abraham, Topic:  17Red Sox-Yankees, LOID:  8.3.20153110.
Koji Uehara receives a round of high fives in a game against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park. –Barry Chin/Globe Staff file

Koji Uehara — the man of many high fives — has officially announced his retirement.

Uehara, 44, who recorded the final out of the Boston Red Sox’ 2013 World Series championship, finished his Major League Baseball career with an impressive 2.85 earned run average to go along with 95 saves.

The right-hander made his MLB debut as a 34-year-old with the Baltimore Orioles in 2009 after 10 seasons in Japan. He pitched for nine seasons in the United States between four teams, including the Red Sox from 2013-2016. Over the course of those four campaigns in Boston, Uehara recorded a 2.19 ERA in 230 relief appearances.

During the Red Sox’ 2013 world championship season, Uehara posted an astounding 1.61 ERA with 101 strikeouts in 74 1/3 innings, finishing seventh in the Cy Young voting. That postseason, he allowed just one run in 13.2 innings pitched and tied a single-postseason record with seven saves.


While pitching for the Red Sox, Uehara became notorious for celebrating with his teammates with high fives all around, sparking the popular Twitter hashtag #HighFiveCity. Between his animated personality and deadly changeup, Uehara quickly became a fan favorite in Boston.

Following his final MLB season in 2017 with the Chicago Cubs, Uehara returned to the Yomiuri Giants of the Tokyo-based Central League where he began his professional baseball career in 1999.