OSAKA – The Orix Buffaloes completed their winter housecleaning following a disappointing fifth-place finish (61-80-2 record) by releasing 18 players on Wednesday.
The Buffaloes’ total was the highest in Nippon Professional Baseball, whose 12 teams announced their reserve lists for the winter. A total of 130 players were cut from rosters, including those who had filed for free agency or retired.
The big sweep in Osaka left starting pitcher Bryan Bullington, reliever Alex Maestri and slugging first baseman Francisco Caraballo all out of work for the time being. A year after finishing within winning-percentage points of the Pacific League title and loading up with veteran bats last winter, the Buffaloes crashed and burned this past season.
South Korean closer Oh Seung-hwan, who will look to move to the majors after two seasons with Hanshin, was left off the Tigers’ roster.
The Japan Series champion Fukuoka Softbank Hawks parted company with designated hitter Lee Dae-ho, who like Oh is seeking a job in the majors this winter, and former Triple Crown-winning slugger Nobuhiko Matsunaka, who will look to continue his career elsewhere.
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