• Kyodo

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Softbank Hawks catcher Kenji Jojima will declare free agency after the Japan Series and is aiming for a move to the major leagues, baseball sources said Friday.

The move would see Jojima become the first Japanese catcher to try his luck in the major leagues. Jojima was ruled out of the Pacific League playoffs after breaking his shin in September.

The Hawks had hoped he would not declare himself a free agent and stay in Fukuoka but club representative Masashi Tsunoda, who is in charge of negotiations with the player, admitted that dissuading Jojima from leaving would be a tough task.

“He has the desire, the dream and the right to go to the United States but we have to talk to him about it,” said Tsunoda. Jojima hit .309 with 24 homers and 57 RBIs in 116 games this season.

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