Miyamoto says ‘right time’ to call it a day


Tokyo Yakult Swallows infielder Shinya Miyamoto on Monday formally announced that he will retire at the end of the season, saying, “it is the right time” to leave.

The 42-year-old Miyamoto, who reached Japan’s major batting milestone of 2,000 hits last season and has won 10 Central League Golden Glove awards, said the fact that he is no longer a regular helped him in the decision process to hang it up.

This year, he became a player-coach and has been used primarily as a pinch hitter since mid-July.

“Since I’m no longer a regular I felt it is time that I get out,” said Miyamoto. “I have been decided for quite a while. I have a clear mind. I know I did my best.”

Miyamoto joined Yakult in the second round in the 1995 draft and remained exclusively with the team for 19 years. He set a pro baseball record with 67 sacrifice hits in 2001.

A career .282 hitter, Miyamoto captained Japan’s bronze medal-winning team at the Athens Olympics and also led the squad at the Beijing Games four years later. He won pennants with the Swallows in 1995, 1997 and 2001.

“I had the honor of being with the team for three championships, and I still have fond memories of the moments we won. I don’t know how many more times I’ll be able to play in games, but I intend to give it my all,” he said.

Off the field, Miyamoto chaired Japan’s players union for three years starting in 2005.