NPB eyes closing Tazawa loophole

Kyodo News

Nippon Professional Baseball officials have demanded a review of scouting rules in written requests submitted to amateur baseball bodies Friday in an attempt to prevent outflows of promising talent from the country.

Sources said NPB, feeling a sense of crisis after highly touted pitcher Junichi Tazawa declared earlier this month to launch a bid to play in North America, has insisted that the current rules regarding contact between major league scouts and Japanese amateur players be reconsidered.

Representatives from the Japan Amateur Baseball Association and the All-Japan University Baseball Federation received the requests from NPB, which also include creating regulations on Japanese players hoping to rejoin their home leagues after an overseas stint, the sources said.

The move by NPB was prompted by Tazawa’s announcement on Sept. 11 that the 22-year-old ace of the Nippon Oil team has opted to pursue a career in the major leagues by bypassing Japan’s amateur draft scheduled for Oct. 30.