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BayStar Murata declares free agency

Kyodo

Yokohama BayStars third baseman Shuichi Murata said on Friday he will file to become a free agent with hopes of playing for a domestic club that can contend for a championship title.

Murata, 30, would also be eligible to negotiate with teams overseas as a free agent, but he appears more inclined to play for a club that can make it into the Japan Series.

“I want to be able to say that I wasn’t mistaken in making this decision,” Murata said.

Murata joined the BayStars in a pre-draft arrangement in 2003 and was the Central League home run king in 2007-08. This season, Murata hit 20 homers with 70 RBIs and batted .253 in 144 games.

He said he was impressed by former teammate Seiichi Uchikawa, who helped lead the Softbank Hawks to their first championship in eight years with a victory over the Chunichi Dragons in the Japan Series.

“I want to stand on the same stage as him (Uchikawa). As a baseball player, this is one of my main goals.”