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Rhodes expected to retire after Orix fails to offer him contract

Kyodo News

Outfielder Tuffy Rhodes, who had been hoping to re-sign with the Orix Buffaloes for this coming season, has received no offers from the Pacific League club, Orix senior official Yoshio Murayama said Saturday.

It means the 41-year-old Rhodes would most likely retire from professional baseball if he does not receive any offers from the other Japanese clubs.

“We have no plans for making him any offers,” Murayama said.

Rhodes was released by Orix at the end of the 2009 season.

The club had made a target for holding talks with Rhodes for a possible re-signing with the start of spring training on Feb. 1 as a negotiation deadline, but the team reached the cutoff earlier partly due to the fact that outfielder So Taguchi rejoined on the same day.

Rhodes joined the then-Kintetsu Buffaloes in 1996 after playing for several major league clubs. In 2001, he became the first player to tie the Japanese single-season home run record of 55.

Rhodes owns the record for the most home runs (464), hits (1,792) and RBIs (1,269) by a foreign player in Japan.

He has played with Orix since 2007 after he was released by the Yomiuri Giants during the 2005 offseason.

Rhodes has a career .286 batting average in 1,674 games in Japan.