Disgruntled veteran Yomiuri Giants slugger Kazuhiro Kiyohara indicated Tuesday he will stay with the Central League club next season.
“I have reached a conclusion and I’m ready to make it clear on another occasion,” Kiyohara said at a fan event at Tokyo Dome but noted, “Is it good news for Giants fans? I think so, yes.”
Kiyohara, 37, earlier hinted at the possibility of leaving the team after meeting with club representative Hidetoshi Kiyotake on Nov. 8. In the meeting, Kiyohara was reportedly told that he would not be guaranteed a regular spot at first base.
Kiyohara became the 31st player to reach 2,000 hits in June, two weeks before he was hit by a pitch and suffered a broken hand that sidelined him for nearly three months.
Kiyohara, one of the highest-paid players in Japanese baseball with an estimated annual salary of 450 million yen, appeared in only 40 games and hit .228 with 12 homers in the 2004 season. His current four-year contract with Yomiuri will expire after next season.
He has not hidden his dissatisfaction with his role on the team under rookie manager Tsuneo Horiuchi, who alternated him and Roberto Petagine on first base until Kiyohara received the injury.
Kiyohara joined the Seibu Lions from PL Gakuen high school in Osaka Prefecture in 1986 and moved to Yomiuri in 1997 as a free agent.
Orix Buffaloes manager Akira Ogi has expressed interest in the player if he leaves Yomiuri.
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