• Kyodo


Japanese outfielder Norichika Aoki was granted his unconditional release by the Toronto Blue Jays, the American League club said Tuesday.

Aoki was designated for assignment on Monday and cleared to become a free agent with the right to negotiate with any team, potentially a contending team as he is still eligible to make the postseason roster if added by Thursday.

The 35-year-old is in his sixth year in the major leagues and moved to Toronto, his sixth team, from the Houston Astros as part of a non-waiver trade deadline move on July 31. He was limited to just 12 games for the Blue Jays.

Aoki hit .274 with five homers and 27 RBIs in 82 games this season, when he also reached his 2,000th career hit.

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