• Kyodo


Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters shortstop Keiji Obiki announced Thursday that he will test the waters of the free agent market this offseason.

Speaking to a press conference at the Fighters’ minor league facility in Kamagaya, Chiba Prefecture, the 30-year-old said, “When I think of my baseball career from this point on, I want to hear what other teams have to say.”

Asked about the possibility of remaining in Sapporo, where he was moved as part of a blockbuster trade in January 2013 that sent star Fighters outfielder Yoshio Itoi to Orix, Obiki said the chances were “exceedingly small.”

“I want to find a team that appreciates me,” he said.

Obiki, who has a career .254 batting average over eight pro seasons, indicated that his preferred choices would be to stay in the Pacific League with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles or move to the Central League’s Tokyo Yakult Swallows. Obiki batted .245 this past season, while reaching career highs with 132 games played, 47 runs batted in and 21 stolen bases.

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