• Kyodo

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Both Hanshin Tigers outfielder Matt Murton and Tigers right-hander Randy Messenger are likely to return for a fifth year with the Central League club, team sources said Saturday.

Murton and Messenger are close to accepting offers to extend their contracts, the sources said.

This season, Murton, 32, had a league high 178 hits, batting mostly in the cleanup spot. It was the third time in his four years in Japan he recorded the most hits. Messenger, 32, pitched Opening Day and went 12-8 with a 2.89 ERA.

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