• Kyodo

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The Softbank Hawks have decided not to allow starting catcher Kenji Jojima to take part in spring training with a major-league team as requested by the player, club officials said Wednesday.

Hawks manager Sadaharu Oh and executive Masashi Tsunoda agreed that the few weeks of Jojima’s absence will only be a minus to the Pacific League team, which is gearing up to open its inaugural season under new owner Softbank Corp.

The 28-year-old Jojima, who has a 500 million yen annual salary, accepted the decision as he had planned to leave for the United States only with permission and support of the team.

“I’ll follow the team’s rules,” said Jojima, who signed a one-year deal with the Hawks and is expected to declare free agency after his 11th season.

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