• Kyodo News

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Kazuo Matsui will return to Japanese baseball next year for the first time since 2003, the free agent infielder said Monday.

Matsui, who had been keeping his options open on both sides of the Pacific, revealed no team names but confirmed he had no offers on the table from major league clubs.

Matsui, who turns 36 next year, last played in Japan with the Seibu Lions before signing as a free agent with the New York Mets in 2004. He has been linked with several Japanese teams, among them the Orix Buffaloes.

“I don’t want to let this drag on,” Matsui said. “It’s nice that teams appreciate me.”

Akinori Iwamura is also coming back to Japan from the big leagues, having already signed with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles.

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