• Kyodo


Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters slugger Sho Nakata said Tuesday he will return to the team instead of testing domestic free agency.

“I didn’t deliver results (this season), but people were rooting for me. I can’t betray everyone who supports me,” said Nakata, who finished his 10th season with the Sapporo-based organization with a .216 average, 16 home runs and 67 RBIs.

The 28-year-old Nakata signed a contract reportedly worth ¥200 million plus incentives, ¥80 million less than his former deal.

Nakata said the Fighters will be losing a key cog if two-way star Shohei Otani lands a deal with a major league team this offseason.

“(Otani’s potential move to the majors) may result in a huge loss,” Nakata said of his 23-year-old teammate who announced his desire to use the posting system to move to the majors on Saturday.

Nakata has 177 homers and 643 RBIs in 1,039 career games.

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