OSAKA — Kintetsu Buffaloes manager Masataka Nashida on Thursday ruled out the possibility that the Pacific League club will release right-hander Akinori Otsuka to enable him to negotiate with major-league clubs during the offseason.

Nashida said releasing Otsuka is an “unlikely option” after the closer failed to draw a bid from the major leagues last month, adding that he is 80-90 percent certain Kintetsu will re-sign him for the 2003 season.

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