Iwakuma confirms anti-Orix stance

Kyodo

Hisashi Iwakuma, who led the Pacific League with 15 wins while with the Kintetsu Buffaloes this past season, reiterated Saturday his unwillingness to play for the team created by Kintetsu’s merger with the Orix BlueWave.

“I’m going to ask them for a trade to another club the next time we meet. After thinking things over, I reached a conclusion that I can’t play for the Orix (Buffaloes),” said Iwakuma, one of 25 protected players picked from Kintetsu and Orix despite his wish to be left off the list for an opportunity to be selected by the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles in the distribution draft held this month. Orix Buffaloes manager Akira Ogi was puzzled by Iwakuma’s remarks, saying he will continue to try to persuade the 23-year-old right-hander to play for his team.

Takayuki Shimizu, who recently filed for free agency after nine seasons with the Yomiuri Giants, indicated Saturday he will remain with the Central League club. Shimizu, 31, has decided to settle for a two-year contract with incentives, although he originally asked for a three-year deal.