Seibu Lions infielder Kazuo Matsui, who declared free agency last month after 10 years in Japanese pro baseball, said Monday he wants to play in the major leagues.

“It’s been my dream to play in the majors and represents a new challenge for me,” Matsui told a news conference at a Tokyo hotel.

“I want to thank Seibu for all the club has done for me since I turned pro as an 18-year-old.”

Matsui, a seven-time All-Star and three-time Golden Glove winner, has been keen for a move to the United States, where the New York Yankees, the team of countryman Hideki Matsui, as well as the Los Angeles Dodgers are apparently interested in acquiring the shortstop.

The New York Mets, Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Anaheim Angels and Seattle Mariners are also reportedly interested in signing the 28-year-old.

Iguchi gives up quest

FUKUOKA (Kyodo) Fukuoka Daiei Hawks infielder Tadahito Iguchi has abandoned his plan to try entering the major leagues via the so-called posting system for the 2004 season and will remain with the Pacific League champions.

Iguchi is set to accept a request from Daiei to stay in Fukuoka but has not given up his hopes of a move to the United States in the future.

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