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Pitcher Kikuchi to announce plans on Sunday

Kyodo News

Hanamaki Higashi High School left-hander Yusei Kikuchi, who recently had interviews with a total of 20 Japanese and major league clubs, will announce his destination Sunday — Japan or the United States — his school said Friday.

Hanamaki Higashi manager Hiroshi Sasaki will accompany the 18-year-old Kikuchi to Sunday’s press conference, four days before the Japanese baseball amateur draft.

Kikuchi has met all 12 domestic clubs, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Boston Red Sox, the Texas Rangers, the San Francisco Giants, the Seattle Mariners, the New York Mets, the New York Yankees and the Cleveland Indians.

Kikuchi helped the Iwate Prefecture school to a runnerup finish at the National High School Invitational Tournament in April and to a semifinal finish in the national championship in August at Koshien Stadium.

His fastball clocked as high as 154 kph (96 mph) during the championship, the fastest pitch ever thrown by a left-hander since the radar gun was introduced in national high school tournaments in 1980.