Lotte’s Imaoka to retire after season


Chiba Lotte Marines infielder Makoto Imaoka, who helped the Hanshin Tigers win two Central League pennants at the height of his career, said Tuesday that he will retire at the end of the season.

The 38-year-old Imaoka had added hitting and defensive coaching duties to his job as an infielder this year, but has not played a single game for the fourth-place Marines. He will hold a press conference after Lotte’s farm team finishes its season at the end of the month.

“For me, my playing days were pretty much over last year,” Imaoka said. “I started my career as a coach this season so I didn’t care whether I played or not. I want to stop wearing a jersey for a while and learn baseball all over again, this time from outside the looking glass.”