Chiba – Chiba Lotte Marines pitcher Hirokazu Sawamura said Monday he will exercise his international free agency rights, allowing him to seek a deal with a team in Major League Baseball.
“The majors are also among my options if I consider all 42 teams in Japan and the United States,” Sawamura said during an interview at Zozo Marine Stadium, the Pacific League club’s home field. “I want to throw for the team that wants me the most.”
Sawamura began the 2020 season with the Central League’s Yomiuri Giants but was traded to the Marines in September. He relieved in 22 games with a 1.71 ERA for the Chiba-based club to help Lotte finish in second place for the first time in 13 years and reach the Climax Series.
The Marines have said they will try to re-sign the right-hander, who is represented by Ichiro Suzuki’s agent, John Boggs.
The 32-year-old began his career with the Giants in 2011 and was named the Central League Rookie of the Year after posting an 11-11 record with a 2.03 ERA in 29 starts.
He transitioned from starter to reliever in 2015 and led the league in saves in 2016 as the Giants’ closer, but struggled with a 6.08 ERA over 13 outings for the Central League champions earlier this year.
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