Nippon Professional Baseball announced the return of Kyosuke Takagi, found guilty of gambling, to professional baseball on Monday, when the reliever’s former club, the Yomiuri Giants, signed him to a developmental contract.
Takagi was handed a one-year suspension on March 22 last year after he was found to have bet on a handful of baseball games at the urging of a Giants teammate. He was immediately fired by the Giants.
The Central League club on Thursday filed an application with NPB for his reinstatement, a day after Takagi’s suspension ended. The 27-year-old will be the first player to resume his professional career after being suspended for betting on baseball, according to NPB.
“I did something very serious and I fully understand it’s not something I can atone for easily,” Takagi told a press conference. “I’ll take baseball seriously and will not make the same mistake again.”
Takagi said he was naive in getting involved with gambling, and gave his apologies and thanks to those who supported him.
“I keenly sensed I was taking things really lightly . . . betraying my fans and causing them trouble hit me hardest,” said Takagi, who has been training at his old school, Kokugakuin University, since last summer.
“I got a dressing-down from my mentor at university and I pledged there and then not to bet on anything ever again. I’ve received warm comments (from the fans), letters too, and that has given me the moral support to get to where I am today.”
An NPB review panel, which received an opinion in writing by Yomiuri along with the application, met Takagi in person before it gave the final nod for the left-hander to return.
“I’ve acknowledged the process in which he resolved not to get involved in betting again, including the deep remorse he showed for what he did and for his family,” said NPB commissioner Katsuhiko Kumazaki.
Takagi, who has played in 139 career games with six wins, no losses, one save and a 3.03 earned-run average, signed a deal worth ¥2.3 million (about $21,000) — the minimum wage for a player under the developmental contract.
Takagi was fined ¥200,000 by the Tokyo Summary Court last August.