Wada, Kawasaki aim to move to majors as free agents

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FUKUOKA, Nov. 30 (19:42) Kyodo

Softbank Hawks left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada and Hawks shortstop
Munenori Kawasaki will aim to move to the major leagues as free
agents, baseball sources said on Wednesday.

Both players reportedly completed free agency procedures the
same day and are set to announce their decisions on Thursday.

Wada, 30, joined the then-Daiei Hawks on a pre-draft arrangement
in 2003 and won Rookie of the Year that season. He posted
double-digit wins for five straight years from his rookie season.

Last season, Wada took the Pacific League title for most wins
with 17 victories and was named the league MVP. In 2011, he posted a
16-5 mark with a 1.51 ERA in 26 starts en route to helping Softbank
win its first Japan Series title in eight years.

Wada has a career 107-61 record with a 3.13 ERA in 210 games.

Kawasaki, 30, was drafted in the fourth round in 2000 and became
Softbank's regular shortstop from 2003. He claimed the stolen bases
title (42) and the title for most hits (171) in 2004.

Kawasaki has a career .294 batting average with 27 home runs,
369 RBIs and 267 stolen bases in 1,145 games.

Along with Wada and Kawasaki, left-hander Toshiya Sugiuchi, 31,
has also decided to exercise his free agency right with the hope of
playing for a domestic club, which would mean the further exodus of
some of Softbank's top players as it bids for a third consecutive PL

Team sources also said that D.J. Houlton, who matched the league
high with 19 wins, will likely be released. Softbank plans to
continue talks with the 32-year-old to remain with the team, but it
is likely other teams will try to acquire the services of the

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