UPDATE1 Shortstop Nakajima opts for free agency

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TOKYO, Nov. 5 (20:14) Kyodo


Seibu Lions shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima told his team on Monday
he would file for unrestricted free agency.

It was the first day Japanese players were eligible to file.

Nakajima, who this season reached the nine years of service
necessary to become an unrestricted free agent, told the team he
intends to move to the majors.

A year ago, the Lions made Nakajima available to major league
clubs through the posting system, but he failed to reach an agreement
with the New York Yankees, who were the high bidders for his
negotiating rights.

The infielder aspired to win a starting job, while the Yankees
wanted him as a utility infielder. After talks broke down, he
returned to the Lions for the 2012 season. Nakajima made no public
comments about his future when Seibu's season ended in the first
stage of the Pacific League Climax Series.

"He's going overseas. That's what was confirmed," said Lions
managing director Noriaki Iida.

Hanshin Tigers relief ace Kyuji Fujikawa is widely expected to
exercise his right to move overseas as is Nippon Ham Fighters second
baseman Kensuke Tanaka.

A total of 85 players currently have the right to walk away from
their current clubs and seek employment elsewhere, with 18 eligible
only for domestic free agency.

A pair from the Orix Buffaloes has already completed the filing
procedure, with right-hander Hayato Terahara apparently headed back
to his first club, the Softbank Hawks, and catcher Takeshi Hidaka
headed to Hanshin.

Players have seven business days after the conclusion of the
Japan Series to inform their current clubs and file for free agency.
That period ends this year on Nov. 13, and the following day the
commissioner's office will publish a list of free agents with
negotiations officially to begin on Nov. 15.

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