Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Tigers to pursue Nakajima: team president


Hansin Tigers president Nobuo Minami said Tuesday the Central League club is aiming to acquire the services of free agent Hiroyuki Nakajima.

“(As a team) we are united and will go all out to achieve this purpose,” Minami said of the former Seibu Lions shortstop Nakajima, who has become a free agent from the Oakland Athletics’ minor league team.

Tigers shortstop Takashi Toritani has told the team he intends to become an unrestricted free agent with the hopes of moving to the major leagues after his team’s runner-up finish in the Japan Series.

With Toritani expected to be out of the picture, the Tigers are making a move for the 32-year-old Nakajima, a native of Hyogo Prefecture who has had no playing time in the majors after signing with Oakland in 2013.

Tigers outfielder Matt Murton, who won the CL batting title, also said Tuesday he hopes to be back with Hanshin. Murton batted .338 with 14 home runs and 84 RBIs in his fifth year in Japan.

Tigers manager Yutaka Wada, whose team was undefeated in the Climax Series before falling 4-1 in the Japan Series against the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks, gave an end-of-the-season report to team owner Shinya Sakai the same day.

“There was more disappointment than fulfillment. Unless we get some stronger we won’t be able to win the league championship and the Japan Series title,” said Wada, who will be in his fourth year at the helm next season.