• Kyodo


Four-time stolen base champion Yasuyuki Kataoka of the Yomiuri Giants said Sunday he will draw the curtain on his Nippon Professional Baseball career after this season.

The 34-year-old, who is in his 13th pro season, joined Yomiuri in 2014 from the Seibu Lions as a free agent. He has suffered from injuries in recent years and has yet to appear in a first-team game this season.

“I decided to retire because I realized my body wasn’t doing what I wanted it to do, but I’m still really disappointed,” Kataoka told a press conference at Tokyo Dome. “I wanted to run on the field one more time.”

Kataoka, who was Seibu’s third-round draft pick in 2005 out of the corporate leagues, led the PL in stolen bases from 2007 to 2010. Playing with the Lions’ Japan Series championship team in 2008, Kataoka tied for the PL hits lead and won his only Best Nine Award. In 2009, he was a key contributor to Japan’s second World Baseball Classic championship.

Over a career primarily spent at the top part of the order, Katoka had a .314 on-base percentage, stole 320 bases (25th most in NPB history) and scored 619 runs.

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