• Kyodo


Tokyo Yakult Swallows veteran pitcher Ryota Igarashi has told the team he will retire at the end of the season after a 23-year playing career, sources close to the matter said Sunday.

The 41-year-old right-hander, who made 905 game appearances in his professional career in both Japan and Major League Baseball, threw 21⅔ innings for the farm team this season but has not played on the top team.

A second-round pick in the 1998 draft, Igarashi soon locked up his roster spot and was named the Central League's most valuable relief pitcher in 2004.

He spent 10 seasons with the Tokyo-based Swallows before he left for the United States as a free agent. He briefly pitched for the New York Mets, Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees.

Igarashi returned to Japan in 2013 and joined the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks in the Pacific League. The Swallows acquired him when he was released in the 2018 offseason.

He went 65-39 with 70 saves and a 2.93 ERA in 822 games in Japan.

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