Fukudome heading back to Japanese baseball

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TOKYO, Dec. 14 (20:23) Kyodo

Outfielder Kosuke Fukudome, who was released at the end of the
2012 season by the New York Yankees' Triple-A affiliate
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, has determined to return to Japanese baseball
next year, informed sources told Kyodo News on Friday.

Fukudome, 35, is already in talks with the DeNA BayStars and the
Hanshin Tigers, and his agent has said Fukudome has abandoned further
the pursuit of continuing his career in the major leagues.

DeNA general manager Shigeru Takada said his team is prepared to
meet with Fukudome several times if necessary to negotiate a
contract. "It starts now. But it will need a little more time,"
Takada said.

Tigers general manager Katsuhiro Nakamura said his team is
"prepared to wait (until after the New Year)."

Fukudome appeared in just 24 games for the Chicago White Sox
this season before he was released on June 22. He signed a minor
league deal with the Yankees affiliate on July 13.

The Osaka native batted a career .258 with 195 RBIs and 42 home
runs in 596 games over parts of five seasons with the Chicago Cubs
(2008-11), Cleveland Indians (2011) and White Sox (2012)

Fukudome, a career .305 hitter in nine seasons with the Chunichi
Dragons, was the Central League's MVP in 2006.

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