Seattle Mariners pitcher Chance Ruffin has voluntarily retired from baseball at age 25, reports Mike Curto of The Olympian. The former first-round pick is hanging up the cleats to return to his wife and newborn child in Austin, Texas, where he was born and raised.
The son of former Major League pitcher Bruce Ruffin, who played from 1987-97, Ruffin was a star at the University of Texas before being selected 48th overall in the 2009 draft by the Detroit Tigers. He made his MLB debut with the team in July 2011, but got traded to Seattle less than two months later in the Doug Fister trade.
Since joining the Mariners, Ruffin has spent the vast majority of his time with the team’s Triple-A affiliate in Tacoma. He made 13 relief appearances with the big league club in 2011 and another nine last season, recording a 5.70 ERA with 30 strikeouts and 14 walks over 23.2 innings.
In 2014, Ruffin made 22 appearances (including seven starts) for Tacoma, recording a 5.31 ERA with 50 strikeouts and 25 walks over 61 innings. He also has a couple saves this season, and it’s easy to forget that he was initially drafted with the expectation of being a quick-rising reliever with closer potential.
It took Ruffin less than two years to reach Detroit after dominating the minors, but things stagnated for the pitcher from there. Now, rather than keep trekking and see what happens, he’ll head home and ponder the next step while spending more time with his family. He doesn’t walk away with nothing, either, as Detroit paid him a signing bonus around $1 million when he was drafted.
The Mariners placed Ruffin on the Voluntarily Retired List, which means the organization retains his rights should he decide to play again.