Yomiuri Giants catcher Shinnosuke Abe will draw the curtain on his professional baseball career after 19 seasons with the Central League club, informed sources said Tuesday.
According to sources, the 40-year-old Abe has already informed the team of his decision and will hold a news conference in the next few days to announce his retirement.
This season, Abe has been primarily as a pinch hitter.
In August, he transitioned into a starting first baseman role and helped the Giants capture their first CL pennant in five years.
In 92 games this season, Abe is batting .299 with six homers, including his career 400th home run in June, and 26 RBIs.
A first-round selection in the 2000 autumn draft out of Chuo University, Abe seized the starting catcher job as a rookie. He emerged as one of the top catchers in NPB history.
In 2012, he led the league in batting average, RBIs and on-base percentage, and was named the CL MVP. In 2017 he reached the 2,000-hit plateau. He was also a national team member at the World Baseball Classic in 2009 and 2013 and the Olympics in 2000 and 2008.
Over his 19-year career, Abe has a .284 batting average with 2,131 hits, 405 homers and 1,284 RBIs in 2,279 games.