Will Kline, who hasn’t pitched in an official minor league game since 2007, has retired after yet another arm injury. The retirement comes after Kline tore the rotator cuff in two separate muscles during a recent extended spring training appearance. At age 26, Kline decided that he did not want to go through yet another long rehab.
Kline, who is from the same town (Tupelo, MS) as Elvis Presley, was a second round pick in the 2007 draft and made nine appearances that year with the single-A Columbus Catfish. He was 0-4 with a 4.97 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 29 innings.
In hindsight, the pick was certainly a risky one. The year Kline was drafted, he worked 124.2 innings for the University of Mississippi. It was his first season as a full-time starter since having Tommy John surgery in high school. And it might not have helped that Ole Miss went to the College World Series that year, putting even more work on the arm.
Combined with his nine appearances with Columbus, Kline worked 153.2 innings in 2007, after working just 85.2 innings in the two previous years combined. He might have broken down anyway, but looking back, maybe he should have been shutdown after the draft.
For all of the great prospects in the Rays system, Kline is one that got away.