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Marines ask Iguchi to manage team

Kyodo

The Chiba Lotte Marines have asked Tadahito Iguchi, who is set to retire as a player this season, to become manager of the Pacific League club, an informed source said Saturday.

If Iguchi accepts the post, he would become the first Japanese with experience playing in the major leagues to skipper a team in NPB.

The 42-year-old infielder, who played for the Chicago White Sox and two other teams during his four seasons in the big leagues starting in 2005, announced in June that he is drawing the curtain on his 21-year career.

Iguchi is scheduled to play in his last game on Sunday when Chiba Lotte hosts the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters at Zozo Marine Stadium.

The Tokyo native has 2,252 hits combined in Japan and North America and, as the oldest active position player in the NPB this year, has hit .237 with one home run and 13 RBIs in 64 games so far this season when he appeared mostly as a pinch hitter.

The Marines have performed poorly throughout the year, with current manager Tsutomu Ito expressing his intention in mid-August to step down after the season is over.

Iguchi was the top draft pick for the Daiei Hawks, now the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, for the 1997 season and went on to lead the PL in stolen bases in 2001 and 2003 while winning the Best Nine and Golden Glove awards three times each — in 2001, 2003 and 2004.

He joined the White Sox in 2005 as a free agent and played in 135 games in his first year, when the club became the World Series champions.

He also had stints with the Philadelphia Phillies and the San Diego Padres before returning to Japan and joining the Marines in 2009.