Veteran right-hander and former major leaguer Masato Yoshii has decided to end his playing career and will join the coaching staff of the Nippon Ham Fighters next season, baseball sources said Monday.
Yoshii accepted the offer for the post of top-team pitching coach made by Nippon Ham after the 42-year-old was left out of the Lotte Marines' team plans for the next season.
''I've made up my mind,'' Yoshii said without giving any details about his future. ''I'm confident that I could still continue pitching but I've also begun to think that it's about time to quit.''
Yoshii joined the Kintetsu Buffaloes in 1984 as a second-round draft pick. He moved to the Yakult Swallows after the 1994 season and made a switch to the major leagues three years later as a free agent.
Yoshii had stints with the New York Mets, Colorado Rockies and Montreal Expos in his five-year career in the majors, where he posted a 32-47 record. He returned to Japanese baseball with the Orix BlueWave in 2003 and was traded to Lotte during the 2007 season.
Yoshii had an 89-82 record with 62 saves in Japan.