Fukudome expected to file for free agency on Mon.

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TOKYO, Nov. 11 (19:43) Kyodo

Chunichi Dragons outfielder Kosuke Fukudome is set to file for
free agency, club representative Kazumasa Ito said Sunday.

Ito said the 30-year-old Fukudome will make a formal
announcement at a press conference on Monday morning. ''We expect him
to (declare free agency),'' Ito said.

Fukudome is regarded as the top position player in Japan and the
bidding for him is expected to be fierce with a number of major
league teams hoping to strike a deal with the outfielder once
negotiations open Wednesday.

Several Japanese teams including the Yomiuri Giants and Hanshin
Tigers are also interested in courting Fukudome.

Chunichi met with Fukudome for talks last Monday, offering him
the options of a one-year contract for an unchanged 385 million yen
and a four-year, 1.7 billion yen deal, but he was undecided.

Fukudome, however, said he was also interested in hearing what
other teams have to say, opening up the possibility of a move for the
left-handed batter.

He had surgery on his right elbow in August and missed
Chunichi's Japan Series triumph. This season, he was limited to just
81 games due to his injury.

Fukudome played a key role in helping Japan to win the inaugural
World Baseball Classic last year in the United States.

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