• Kyodo

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Junichi Fukura has accepted the Orix Buffaloes’ request that he stay on as manager for 2018, the 57-year-old said Wednesday.

It will be the third full season in charge for Fukura, who was promoted from head coach to the Pacific League club’s interim manager during the 2015 season. He received the team’s request while in Sendai to play the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles.

The Buffaloes are currently fourth in the league after finishing in fifth in 2015 and last a year ago.

“I have accepted,” Fukura said. “You can’t just go out the way things stand now. Somehow, I want to get us higher up.”

Fukura has built a reputation as a player’s manager, and team president Hiroaki Nishina said that the development of the club’s youngsters is a goal.

“He’s played various young players,” Nishina said. “While things are not satisfactory yet, we see this as a stepping stone. We’re not talking about a championship, but we’d like to reach the (postseason) Climax Series.”

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