Teenage star Kikuchi mulls options

Kyodo News

Highly touted left-hander Yusei Kikuchi, who faces a choice between playing in Japan or in the major leagues, said on Saturday all 12 Japanese baseball clubs would be appealing, if he decides to play in Japan.

“I want to contribute my best to any of the Japanese teams,” said the 18-year-old from Hanamaki Higashi High School, after meeting each of the domestic teams on Friday and Saturday for 30 minutes behind closed doors.

“I was reminded that Japanese baseball has a solid and careful development program,” said Kikuchi. “I will choose the one that best develops my strength.”

The Chunichi Dragons said they will pick Kikuchi at the Japan’s amateur draft on Oct. 29 even if Kikuchi says he wants to play in the majors, while the Hiroshima Carp said they will not.

Kikuchi is scheduled to meet eight major league teams, including the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox, on Monday and Tuesday.