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Tanaka ready to narrow down choices

Kyodo

Highly sought-after pitcher Masahiro Tanaka is likely to narrow down his preferences among major league suitors in the coming days, a member of his staff said Friday.

“There is about a week left, so I think that is something that is going to start from now,” said Yoshiki Sato, who previously worked as the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles public relations director.

Sato said the Eagles ace, who visited the United States briefly last week, has yet to schedule another trip. The deadline for Tanaka to sign a deal with a big league club under the new posting system is Jan. 24 in the United States at 5 p.m. Eastern time.

Under the previous system, posted Japanese players could negotiate only with the big league club making the highest bid in a blind auction, and several big deals have been decided in the final hours.

“We don’t have any particular plan to do that,” Sato said. “If it’s something in line with his (Tanaka’s) desires, he’ll leave it up to the agent to handle things.

“The situation is that really nothing has been decided.”