Kaanoi’s career in
doubt after release
Kahi Kaanoi was released by the Kansas City Royals on Sunday. He has not decided if that means the end of his six-year professional baseball career.
"I'm not officially retired, but I am looking at my options," said Kaanoi, who celebrated his 23rd birthday yesterday.
"I'm going to take the fireman's test Sept. 10. If I do well on that then I will pursue that. I'll keep working out and see how my arm is next spring, but right now I need rest."
Kaanoi, selected in the seventh round of the 2000 First-Year-Player Draft by Kansas City after a standout career at Kamehameha, had his best season last year.
He began the year with the Burlington Bees in the Midwest League, where he had a 2.83 earned-run average. Sent to Wilmington (Del.) in the Carolina League, Kaanoi was 4-0 with a 1.37 ERA as the Blue Rocks turned things around in the second half and made it to the Carolina League championship series.
However, even before Kaanoi went to spring training this year, his arm did not feel right.
"It was bothering me when I got to spring training and I took a couple of weeks off," said Kaanoi, who began the season as a starting pitcher with the High Desert Mavericks of the Class-A California League.
"My velocity has been down. I haven't had a breaking pitch and no offspeed pitch. I tried to tough it out for the year, but threw one inning a couple of weeks ago and it was worse."
Kaanoi, a right-hander, logged 85 1/3 innings for High Desert, but gave up 120 hits and was on the minus side of a key statistical ratio with 42 walks and 37 strikeouts.
"My supraspinatus muscle (in the shoulder) was tight and I had no range of motion. Then I ended up getting tendinitis," said Kaanoi.
"I think I'm ready to move on. I had a great time playing ball. I loved the experience I had. My family doesn't want me to stop playing. They don't want me to have any regrets. There is nothing to regret. I gave it my all for six seasons."
He said the highlight of his career was making the Midwest League All-Star team in 2002 after spending most of 2001 on the disabled list following surgery.
"I wasn't really sure I would be able to come back, but I was able to go out and compete," said Kaanoi.
In 134 career games, Kaanoi pitched 439 1/3 innings, had a 17-29 record and finished with a 4.61 ERA.