Tigers captain Toritani staying with Hanshin

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KOBE, Nov. 12 (17:40) Kyodo

Hanshin Tigers shortstop Takashi Toritani has declined to file
for free agency, a team official said Monday, the last day for
players to file.

The Tigers' 31-year-old captain played in all 144 of Hanshin's
games this season. Toritani led both leagues with 94 walks and led
the Tigers in runs, hits, triples, and RBIs. This season he became
eligible to be an unrestricted free agent.

"I'm relieved," said team director Eiichi Takano, who said
Toritani contacted the club on Monday morning with the news. "That's
one less thing to worry about."

When the team extended a formal contract offer on Oct. 23,
Toritani showed no willingness to accept it.

The Tigers, who finished a disappointing fifth this season in
the Central League under first-year skipper Yutaka Wada, had two
players file for free agency, second baseman Keiichi Hirano and
closer Kyuji Fujikawa. Hirano is a domestic free agent and has not
ruled out staying with Hanshin, while Fujikawa aims to play in the
major leagues.

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