Two-time Central League MVP slugger Alex Ramirez will likely part with the Yomiuri Giants in search of more playing time, a team official said on Tuesday.
“I think that’s the way things are headed,” the official said. “He’s pretty set about wanting to play more often.”
The 37-year-old Ramirez signed with the Giants in 2008 from the Yakult Swallows, helping the team to the Japan Series title in 2009. He was named the league’s MVP in both 2008 and 2009, and won the home run and RBI titles last season.
Ramirez, however, slowed down this season, batting .279 with 23 homers — his lowest home run total in nine years — as the Giants were eliminated by his old team in the first stage of the Climax Series.
His streak of consecutive appearances stopped at 985 in July, and the defensively challenged outfielder was often benched mid-game by manager Tatsunori Hara for tactical purposes.
In his 11 years in Japan, the crowd-pleasing Ramirez has a .303 batting average with 1,850 hits and 359 home runs. He had eight consecutive 100-RBI seasons from 2003 to 2010, which is a Japanese baseball record.