Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Buffaloes infielder Eiichi Koyano retiring after 16 seasons

Kyodo

Orix Buffaloes infielder Eiichi Koyano, a three-time Golden Glove winner, will retire at the end of the season, the team announced Thursday.

Koyano, 37, entered the Pacific League in 2003 as a fifth-round draft pick of the Nippon Ham Fighters and cemented himself in the Hokkaido-based club’s starting lineup in the 2007 season.

He received the Golden Glove award as a third baseman for the Fighters in 2009, 2010 and 2012. As a batter, he had his best statistical season in 2010, when he batted .311 with 177 hits and 109 RBIs.

Koyano joined the Buffaloes in 2015 as a free agent. After playing 130 games last year, he was limited to just 69 games this season because of a knee injury and other health issues.

The Chiba Lotte Marines on the same day announced that infielder Shunichi Nemoto and catcher Takeshi Kanazawa will also call it quits this year.

After joining the Marines in 2006, Nemoto played his entire 13-year career with the PL club.

He batted .250 for his career with 583 hits in 837 games.

“I’m delighted to have been able to play baseball for a great team, with great teammates, in front of the best fans,” the 35-year-old Nemoto said.

Kanazawa, 34, joined the Marines in 2008. He had a .232 batting average in 176 games for the club.