Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Pitcher Hideaki Wakui staying put with Marines for 2018 season

Kyodo

The Chiba Lotte Marines announced Tuesday that right-hander Hideaki Wakui will stay with the club for the 2018 season, putting aside his major league aspirations.

The 31-year-old had filed for international free agency after 13 seasons in NPB, the first nine with the Seibu Lions and latter four with the Marines.

“Since I declared free agency I had decided I would reach a decision before spring training starts,” Wakui said through the club.

“As the day drew near, my desire to pitch for the Marines, who I am attached to, and throw manager (Tadahito) Iguchi, who has supported me since his playing days, into the air (in celebration) grew stronger,” he said.

Wakui is scheduled to report to camp in Okinawa by Thursday.

The 2009 Sawamura Award winner became eligible for international free agency by completing nine full years of service in Japan and said in November he will re-sign with Lotte if he fails to strike a deal with a major league club.