• Kyodo


Chiba Lotte Marines lefty Yoshihisa Naruse announced Saturday he will declare free agency as he looks to ply his trade elsewhere with another team.

“If I am going to (declare free agency) I want to aim high. I want to get evaluations from other teams,” said Naruse, who is expected to begin the paperwork for free agency on Tuesday.

Based on team policy, he is not allowed to remain with the team after declaring free agency, meaning Naruse’s departure is all but decided. Naruse said that there had been differences in opinion in his negotiations with Lotte to stay with the club.

“There were various areas we were apart on. Honestly, I am sad,” said Naruse, who has spent his entire 11-year career with the Marines.

Naruse, who went 9-11 with a 4.67 ERA in 23 starts this season, hinted that he has no preference for whether he plays in the Pacific or Central League. “I will be happy just to hear from other teams. I want to be thought of as the player the Marines say, ‘We wish he would’ve stayed with us.’ “

Lotte manager Tsutomu Ito said he had hoped Naruse would remain but understood his decision to look for greener pastures.

“It would have been the best if he could be fighting for us next season but this is the right of a player. I want him to make a decision that he can be satisfied with,” Ito said in a club statement.

Naruse was drafted in the sixth round in 2003. In 2007, he went 16-1 with the highest winning percentage and won the ERA title with a mark of 1.82. He has 90-66 career record with a 3.16 ERA.

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