Tigers closer Fujikawa to become free agent, eyes majors

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NISHINOMIYA, Japan, Oct. 30 (21:33) Kyodo

Hanshin Tigers closer Kyuji Fujikawa will exercise his free
agency right in a bid to play in the major leagues next season, Kyodo
News learned Tuesday.

Several baseball sources said that the 32-year-old Fujikawa, who
met the conditions to become an overseas free agent this season, had
previously expressed his desire to play in the majors and held off
from saying whether he would return to the team.

The Tigers have already begun plans to bolster their pitching
staff as they envision a team without their ace closer, who departed
for the United States a day earlier to prepare to hold talks with
major league clubs.

Fujikawa joined the Tigers in 1999 after he was drafted in the
first round out of Kochi Shogyo High School. He matched a Japanese
baseball record with 46 saves in 2007.

This season, Fujikawa posted 24 saves with a 1.32 ERA in 48
appearances for the Tigers. He has a career 42-25 record with 220
saves and a 1.77 ERA in 562 games.

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