CHIBA (Kyodo) Chiba Lotte Marines closer Hiroyuki Kobayashi reiterated in talks Wednesday with his Japan Series-winning team that he will try to sign a free agent deal with a major league club this winter.

“I told the front office of my desire to pitch in the majors,” Kobayashi said after the talks. “I’ve been asking that for many years. I won’t change my mind.”

The 32-year-old is expected to start the procedures as early as Thursday to become an international free agent.

“I asked him to stay, but of course we’ll have to respect any decision he makes,” senior Lotte official Akira Ishikawa said.

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