Japanese left-hander Kazuhisa Ishii said Friday he plans to decide about Jan. 20 which team to pitch for in 2006.

“I want to make a decision around Jan. 20 after having some talks in Japan,” said Ishii, who was released by the New York Mets earlier this month.

A total of seven Japanese and major league clubs have shown interest in acquiring him, according to baseball sources.

“Either way is good, pitching in the major leagues or making Japanese baseball more interesting,” Ishii said. In Japan, the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters and his former team, the Yakult Swallows, have declared their readiness to offer him contracts.

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