Kawasaki hopes to play with Ichiro


Fukuoka Softbank Hawks shortstop Munenori Kawasaki filed for free agency Thursday, saying his ardent wish is to play for the Seattle Mariners — the same major league club as one of the players he admires most, Ichiro

Kawasaki, 30, has been yearning to play in the majors since he took part in the inaugural World Baseball Classic in 2006.

He has even suggested that he would be willing to accept a minor league deal and would be flexible about which position he plays. The only thing he appears unmoved about is which team he goes to.

“I just want to play for the same team as Ichiro-san,” Kawasaki said at a press conference at Yahoo Dome.

“I won’t say that I will go, if I get offers from other teams,” said Kawasaki, adding that he would only play for the Hawks in Japan in the event that a deal with the Mariners does not materialize.