• Kyodo

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Tohoku High School said Monday it has decided to suspend the Nippon Ham Fighters’ top draft pick Yu Darvish from school after it confirmed a media report that the 18-year-old pitcher was smoking while taking part in minor-league spring training.

School officials will be sent in a few days to the team dormitory in Kamagaya, Chiba Prefecture, to ask Darvish about the matter.

If suspended, he cannot attend the school’s graduation ceremony March 1. It is illegal in Japan for people under 20 to smoke.

Nippon Ham on Sunday ordered Darvish not to leave the dormitory after a picture of him smoking in a pachinko parlor was taken by a weekly magazine in Naha, Okinawa, near the minor-league training site.

The ace pitcher led Tohoku High School to second place in the national high school baseball championship held at Koshien Stadium in summer 2003.

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