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Lions grant Mori’s majors request

The Seibu Lions have given the green light for right-hander Shinji Mori to make a switch to the major leagues via the posting system, the Pacific League club said Friday.

Seibu completed the necessary procedures to put Mori up for auction through the system, in which major league teams present sealed bids for Japanese players and the successful bidder obtains the negotiating rights.

Seibu officials said Mori, who was named the league’s best setup man in 2002 and 2003, asked for an opportunity to ply his trade in the majors rather than wait until he meets the requirements to become a free agent next season.

Mori, 31, joined Seibu in 1997 as a second-round draft pick and has a 44-44 career record with 50 saves and a 3.39 ERA.

This year, he went 2-2 with five saves and a 4.22 ERA in 48 games.

Earlier in the offseason, Seibu rejected a request from ace right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka, 25, to pursue a major league career through the posting system.

“The difference between the two cases reflects our management and marketing policies as well the difference in their ages,” said club representative Akira Kuroiwa.