Iwase stays at Chunichi, K. Ishii free agent

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TOKYO, Nov. 12 (18:50) Kyodo

Chunichi Dragons closer Hitoki Iwase is staying with the newly
crowned Asia Series champions, while Yakult Swallows left-hander
Kazuhisa Ishii filed for free agency before the deadline Monday.

''I've wanted to continue my playing career in the place where I
grew up,'' Iwase told reporters in Nagoya. ''I made up my mind soon
after I first spoke with the front office.''

Last Thursday, Chunichi offered Iwase the options of a one-year
contract for 430 million yen, up 40 million yen from this year, and a
four-year contract that pays 420 million yen in the first year.

Iwase has earned at least 40 saves in each of the last three

Former major league pitcher Ishii, meanwhile, opted for free

''I thought this was my last chance to be a free agent. I want
to think about all possible options, including staying at Yakult,''
Ishii said. He was 9-10 with a 4.16 ERA in 28 games this year.

Chunichi outfielder Kosuke Fukudome, Hiroshima Carp right-hander
Hiroki Kuroda and Hiroshima third baseman Takahiro Arai have also
filed for free agency.

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