Fujikawa wants to pitch in majors, but Hanshin says no

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NISHINOMIYA, Japan, Dec. 12 (23:19) Kyodo

Hanshin Tigers hard-throwing closer Kyuji Fujikawa told the club
on Wednesday of his desire to pitch in the major leagues as early as
2009 under the so-called posting system.

Fujikawa asked Hanshin executives to give him a chance to pitch
in the majors after the 2008 season, but both owner Tsuneaki Miyazaki
and club president Nobuo Minami said they cannot accept his request.

The two sides were going to talk about Fujikawa's contract for
next season, but ended up only discussing his request.

Fujikawa was accompanied by lawyer Hironari Hashioka, who helped
Kei Igawa move from Hanshin to the New York Yankees via the posting
system a year ago.

''I came here to make a request. I couldn't contain my
feelings,'' Fujikawa said. ''Having a goal makes me more determined.
I'll prove it next year.''

The 27-year-old Fujikawa has more than four years to play in
order to become a free agent.

''I understand how he feels, but we just can't accept it. He is
very important for the team,'' Minami said.

''We will never consider using the posting system for him,''
Miyazaki said. ''He is not just the Tigers' Fujikawa but he is a
treasure of Japanese baseball. He has to think about that.''

Fujikawa went 5-5 with a Japanese baseball single-season
record-tying 46 saves and a 1.63 ERA in 2007.

He was a member of the Asian Championship-winning national team
that earned a berth in next year's Beijing Olympic Games.

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