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Former Phillies prospect Matt Imhof retires after losing eye in freak accident

Former Philadelphia Phillies pitching prospect Matt Imhof formally announced his retirement from baseball after suffering a freak training accident last year.

Imhof suffered serious injuries last June when a piece of metal mounting hardware holding a resistance band tore off a wall and struck him in the face, fracturing his nose, breaking two orbital bones and critically injuring his eye. He underwent numerous surgeries but despite the doctors’ best efforts, it was determined that the best course of action was to have his right eye removed.

The 23-year-old pitcher posted a heartbreaking account of what he experienced in the days that followed on Instagram.

“I still love the game of baseball and I’m proud of everything I accomplished in the game,” Imhof wrote in an original piece for ESPN. “It’s opened doors for me I never thought I’d walk through. It’s allowed me to represent my country on the biggest stage, and it’s given me a platform to effect positive change in the lives of those less fortunate than myself. I am blessed that I was able to play this game for 18 years and will never forget the lessons it taught me along the way.

“… I have never doubted my ability to be successful in life and I don’t plan on starting now; whether it’s a baseball field or a boardroom, I know my future is bright. With that in mind, I would like to announce my retirement from the game of baseball.”

Imhof was drafted by the Phillies with the 47th overall pick in the 2014 MLB first-year player draft, posting a 13-10 record with a 3.69 ERA over 2 1/2 minor league seasons.

“To bigger and better things,” is how Imhof closed his deeply personal essay announcing his retirement.