/

Dragons GM Ochiai leaving team

Kyodo

Hiromitsu Ochiai will step down from his post as general manager of the Chunichi Dragons when his contract expires at the end of next month, sources close to the Central League club said Tuesday.

The Dragons have performed poorly since the 63-year-old Hall of Famer was appointed GM in the 2013 offseason, finishing fourth out of six teams in the CL in 2014, fifth in 2015 and bottom for the first time in 19 years this past season.

According to sources, Chunichi plans to operate without a GM after Ochiai’s retirement at the end of January 2017 and will leave the post vacant for the time being.

During his eight-year tenure as manager of the Nagoya-based Dragons from 2004, Ochiai helped the team win four league pennants, including back-to-back titles in 2010 and 2011.

He earned his GM role after leading the Dragons to their first Japan Series championship in 53 years, despite ending the regular season in second in the league in 2007, the year the Climax Series’ three-team playoff system was introduced.