Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Yoshitomo Tsutsugo keeping open mind, has no preferred MLB destination

Kyodo

Yokohama BayStars outfielder Yoshitomo Tsutsugo said Wednesday he has no preferred destination when it comes to signing with a major league team next month.

Speaking to reporters for the first time since the Central League club completed his posting application, the left-handed slugger said he was not necessarily focused on a move to a major league team near the West Coast.

“Wherever the team is located is fine, so no,” he said when asked if the region was his preference.

Three of Japan’s six current major leaguers, Kenta Maeda, Shohei Ohtani and Yusei Kikiuchi, play on the West Coast, while Yoshihisa Hirano plays in Arizona.

“I’m not feeling carefree about this. There is a sense of anxiety, of course, and excitement as well,” said Tsutsugo, who turns 28 on Tuesday.

“We’ll find out soon enough how it turns out. All I can do is prepare as well as I can.”

He will have until Dec. 19 to conclude a contract with a major league team willing to pay the BayStars a transfer fee equal to a fixed percentage of his deal’s value. If Tsutsugo fails to come to an agreement, his rights will remain with the BayStars.

In addition to Tsutsugo, Hiroshima Carp second baseman Ryosuke Kikuchi and Yomiuri Giants pitcher Shun Yamaguchi are also being posted this winter. Seibu Lions center fielder Shogo Akiyama is hoping to move to the majors as a free agent.