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Eagles to ask Tanaka to stay for 2014

Kyodo

The Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles will ask their ace Masahiro Tanaka to put off a likely move to the major leagues and stay for another season, team president Yozo Tachibana said Monday.

“We will, of course, ask him to play for us next year,” Tachibana said.

The 24-year-old Tanaka is in the midst of a banner year, having gone a Japanese baseball-record 16-0 for the first-place Eagles with a miniscule ERA of 1.20. He has also won 20 consecutive decisions since his last defeat on Aug. 19, 2012, tying the NPB record.

The right-hander signed a three-year contract this past winter, but also told Rakuten then that he wanted to play in the majors at some point in the future.

The Eagles have said they will oblige and post Tanaka if it comes down to that.

“We’ll just keep communicating,” Tachibana said. “But I suppose at the end of the day, we have to respect the wishes of the player.”