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Spokane Indians notebook: Riley Pint, fourth overall pick in 2016, retires from baseball

UPDATED: Tue., June 8, 2021

In an undated photo, Riley Pint pitches for the Spokane Indians earlier this season. Pint announced his retirement from baseball over the weekend.  (James Snook/Courtesy)
In an undated photo, Riley Pint pitches for the Spokane Indians earlier this season. Pint announced his retirement from baseball over the weekend. (James Snook/Courtesy)

Spokane Indians right-handed pitcher Riley Pint, the Colorado Rockies’ 2016 first-round pick – fourth overall – retired from baseball over the weekend.

The decision was confirmed by Rockies assistant general manager of player development Zach Wilson to MLB.com.

In parts of five minor league seasons, Pint battled injury and control issues. He was enjoying his best statistical season for the Indians this spring with a 1-0 record, 3.38 ERA and 17 strikeouts over 10⅔ innings in relief. He also had 10 walks and three wild pitches.

Spokane Indians pitching coach Ryan Kibler was empathetic with Pint’s struggles and decision to step back from baseball.

“It’s been tough on him,” Kibler said. “… It would come and go on him. It’s been coming and going on him for a long time. And he has battled his tail off for a long time.”

Kibler cited Pint’s work ethic leading up to his retirement announcement.

“He has done so many things to help get it right,” Kibler said. “It is unbelievable how many things he’s done to get it right and how hard he has tried, and what he has gone through. It is just really truly unbelievable.”

Kibler said he was surprised at the timing of the announcement following five weeks of play after being away from baseball for 15 months due to the pandemic.

“(Pint) didn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Kibler said. “He didn’t see a finish line. Right now, I can’t blame him.”

Wilson said the organization was open to Pint returning in the future.

“We want to support Riley right now (with) where he’s at in his life,” Wilson told MLB.com. “And we’ll certainly support him as to the next several weeks and months and years. We drafted him and he spent a lot of time here. We’ve worked very hard with him, so just because he’s decided to step away doesn’t mean that we’re going to cut that off at all.”

For his career, Pint made 68 appearances for four affiliates over Rookie, Low-A and High-A. He went 4-20 with a 5.56 ERA and averaged 8.8 strikeouts and 7.2 walks over 166⅔ innings.

Hill wins pitcher of the week, promoted

Right-handed David Hill won the High-A West pitcher of the week for May 31-June 6, then was promoted by the Rockies to Double-A Hartford on Sunday.

In two starts last week he went 2-0 and allowed two earned runs on four hits and two walks with 13 strikeouts over 12 innings. Hill made six starts for Spokane this season and went 2-1 with a 2.66 ERA and 27 strikeouts over 23⅔ innings.

More player moves

The Rockies promoted LJ Hatch to Hartford and sent Andrew DiPiazza to Low-A Fresno.

Joining the roster this week was RHP Will Ethridge and SS Christopher Navarro from Fresno and RHP Jake Sommers from extended spring training.

Ethridge, 23, went 3-1 over six starts with Fresno with a 2.56 ERA. He was the Rockies’ fifth-round pick in 2019.

Navarro, 21, batted .200/.282/.229 over 11 games for the Grizzlies.

Promotional nights back at Avista Stadium

With COVID-19 protocols being relaxed by MLB for the minor leagues, promotional nights will return to Avista Stadium for the each of the six games in the upcoming series with the Vancouver Canadians.

The promotions include the “Businessman’s special” on Thursday with a noon start, the ever-popular “Dollars in Your Dog” night on Friday and Otto’s birthday bash on Sunday.

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