The Yomiuri Giants said Saturday they will release veteran slugger Kazuhiro Kiyohara and three Pacific League clubs have shown interest in acquiring him.

In the last year of his four-year contract with Yomiuri, Kiyohara struggled as he hit only .212 with 22 homers and 52 RBIs in 96 games before having season-ending knee surgery in late August.

The latest move came at a time when the struggling Giants are giving more playing opportunities to younger players instead of relying heavily on highly paid veteran players.

As for Kiyohara’s future, Akira Ogi, who has resigned as Orix Buffaloes manager and will become their senior adviser, said recently the Pacific League club will launch a bid to acquire the services of the 38-year-old infielder.

The Seibu Lions, with whom Kiyohara started his professional career in 1986, and the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles have also shown interest in the popular player, but negotiations are expected to face difficulty given his high salary.

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