Tokyo Yakult Swallows outfielder Norichika Aoki said Thursday he will use the posting system this offseason to move to the majors.
“My dream is not just to go over there to play, but it’s to perform strongly in the majors,” the three-time Central League batting champion said. “I’m ready to play for whatever team needs me, regardless of contract terms.”
The Swallows have accepted the three-time Central League batting champion’s request to allow him to pursue a career in the majors.
The two sides began talks Monday on the 29-year-old’s major league bid, a day after the Swallows’ season came to an end with a 2-1, Game 5 loss to the Chunichi Dragons in the final stage of the CL Climax Series.
Aoki, Yakult’s fourth-round pick in the fall 2003 draft out of Waseda University, is a career .329 hitter over eight seasons, all with the Swallows.
In 2011, Aoki batted .292 with four home runs and 44 RBIs in 144 games, the first time in seven years he did not hit .300. He is the only player in Japanese baseball history to have had two 200-hit seasons.
Posada to leave Yanks
After five World Series rings, seven American League pennants and five All-Star appearances, Jorge Posada says his career with the New York Yankees is over.
“I don’t think there’s not even a percentage of chance that I can come back,” the 40-year-old catcher said Wednesday night before his foundation’s annual dinner. “It’s not going to happen.”
After 17 seasons in pinstripes, Posada faces the same choice Bernie Williams had after the 2006 season: Retire and ensure that his entire career was with the Yankees or move to another team.