• Kyodo

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Central League MVP Yoshihiro Maru has decided to exercise his domestic free agent option and sign with the Yomiuri Giants, sources said Friday.

The biggest name in the offseason free agent market, Maru on Tuesday was named CL MVP for the second straight year after helping the Hiroshima Carp win a third straight pennant and reach the Japan Series, where they lost to the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks.

Batting .306 this year, the left-handed hitter has averaged .280 in his nine seasons as a pro, all with Hiroshima.

The 29-year-old center fielder won his fourth Best Nine selection after leading NPB with 130 walks and topping the CL in on-base percentage (.468). He was second in the league in runs scored (109), home runs (39), and slugging average (.627).

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