• Kyodo


Daiei Hawks infielder Tadahito Iguchi said Thursday he would like to try entering the major leagues via the so-called posting system for the 2004 season.

Iguchi, who helped Daiei win the Pacific League and the recently concluded Japan Series, told the club’s acting owner Takeshi Kotsuka of his wish in a meeting at a Fukuoka hotel and hopes to get the green light as early as possible.

“Even before (joining Daiei) I’ve always wanted to give the majors a shot and I feel that this is the best chance for me,” Iguchi told reporters.

“I spoke to the (acting) president (Kotsuka) and he has taken my wishes into consideration. We both talked about our feelings on this matter and I realize it won’t be easy to reach a conclusion,” he said.

Daiei and Iguchi agreed on a possible move to the major leagues when the 28-year-old renewed his contract after his rookie season in 1997 but the Hawks appear reluctant to let him go.

“The Daiei management accepted his request for a possible move after his first year with the team and we want to keep to our side of the bargain,” said Kotsuka.

“But it’s not that easy and we want a little more time before reaching a decision.”

Under the posting system, a major league team wins the right to negotiate with a Japanese player by placing the highest bid to the team to which he belongs.

Seattle Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki and Los Angeles Dodgers Kazuhisa Ishii both joined their clubs through the system.

Seventh-year pro Iguchi batted .340 this season with 27 home runs and 109 RBIs and led the PL in stolen bases.

Hirosawa quits

NISHINOMIYA, Hyogo Pref. (Kyodo) Hanshin Tigers infielder Katsumi Hirosawa, the oldest active player in Japanese baseball, drew the curtain on a professional career spanning 19 years when he announced his retirement on Thursday.

“Physically, I still feel I’m able (to continue playing) but I am a family man and I want to go home and do the kind of things regular fathers do with their kids,” the 41-year-old Hirosawa told reporters at Koshien Stadium.

In what proved to be the last at-bat of his career, Hirosawa hit a pinch-hit home run in Game 7 of the recently concluded Japan Series and became the oldest player to homer in the history of the series.

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