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Giants’ Sugiuchi takes record pay cut

Kyodo

Yomiuri Giants starter Toshiya Sugiuchi re-signed for ¥50 million plus incentives on Thursday after he offered to take a ¥450 million pay cut, the biggest ever in Japanese baseball history.

The 35-year-old left-hander, who was in the fourth and final year of a ¥2 billion yen contract, gave his team the option of the salary cut after posting a 6-6 record with a 3.95 ERA over 95⅔ innings this season. He last pitched on July 21 and had groin surgery in October. He’s aiming to return in the second half of next year.

“It goes against the grain for me to constrain my team by conforming to the baseball charter’s reduction limit,” said Sugiuchi in a statement. Under the charter, players earning more than ¥100 million cannot have their pay cut by more than 40 percent without their approval. Players earning up to ¥100 million can have their salaries cut by 25 percent.

The previous largest pay cut had been ¥360 million, taken by former Giant Michihiro Ogasawara in 2012. His earnings dropped to ¥70 million the following season.

“It gives me more motivation for rehab and training, having my team setting targets with incentives,” added Sugiuchi, who joined Yomiuri from the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks in 2012.

“I’ll strive to pitch and live up to the No. 18 jersey of the Yomiuri Giants.”

Sugiuchi is 142-77 in his 14-year-career with a 2.95 ERA, and 39-22 during his four years with the Giants.