• Kyodo


Manager Masataka Nashida will return next season for a third year at the helm of the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, team owner Hiroshi Mikitani said Sunday.

The Eagles were eliminated from the postseason earlier in the day by the Pacific League champion Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks in the final stage of the league’s playoffs.

“Next year as well, with manager Nashida in the lead, the players, the organization will all pull together as we aspire to win the league and become No. 1 in Japan,” Mikitani said on his Twitter account.

But while Nashida will be back, the Eagles will move on without 41-year-old former big league infielder Kazuo Matsui, who according to an informed source seeks to continue his playing career.

“He is a hard worker who has given much to the team for years,” said club president Yozo Tachibana. “We are making arrangements to employ him in some capacity as a team official.”

The source said the club was willing to offer a coaching position, but that Matsui appears likely to try and catch on with another team.

Matsui played seven seasons in the majors, and was a key member of the Eagles’ 2013 Japan Series championship team. This year, he played in only 44 games, including just one at his old position, shortstop, where Eigoro Mogi has developed into one of Rakuten’s key contributors.

The veteran switch-hitter had been left off the Eagles’ postseason roster.

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