Softbank Hawks catcher Kenji Jojima, widely believed to aspire to ply his trade in the major leagues, is among the 69 players eligible to become free agents this year, the baseball commissioner’s office said Wednesday.
Eleven players met the requirements for free agency this year for the first time, including Jojima, Orix Buffaloes outfielder Yoshitomo Tani, Seibu Lions closer Kiyoshi Toyoda and Chunichi Dragons left-hander Shigeki Noguchi.
Chunichi catcher Motonobu Tanishige and Hanshin Tigers catcher Akihiro Yano are among the four who have regained eligibility.
The 54 others continue to hold the rights for free agency they obtained last year or earlier. Among them are Seibu right-hander Fumiya Nishiguchi, Hiroshima Carp outfielder Tomonori Maeda and veteran slugger Kazuhiro Kiyohara, who has parted company with the Yomiuri Giants.
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