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Sugiuchi opts to become free agent

Kyodo

Fukuoka Softbank Hawks lefty Toshiya Sugiuchi will exercise his free agency right to move to a domestic club, his agent Tatsuma Sakai said after submitting the application to the Pacific League club on Tuesday.

Sakai held a news conference at Yahoo Dome where he read a statement from Sugiuchi.

“I have come to this conclusion of declaring free agency after much consideration. If there is a team that needs me and wishes to talk, I am willing to listen. I also intend to continue negotiations with the Hawks,” Sugiuchi said.

Softbank is hoping to convince Fukuoka native Sugiuchi to remain with the 2011 Japan Series champions, but it is likely other domestic clubs will attempt to lure away the 31-year-old.

According to Sakai, Sugiuchi is dissatisfied with the evaluation he has received from Softbank under its result-reward system. His negotiations hit a snag last offseason as well when he argued that he deserved a bigger raise for helping the team to the PL title by winning 16 games.