• Kyodo


Outfielder Haruki Nishikawa remains a member of the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, the club announced Sunday, after his deadline to sign with a major league team elapsed.

The 28-year-old center fielder had until 5 p.m. on Saturday in New York to complete a deal with a new team to play in the majors in 2021 after the Pacific League club posted him in December.

Nishikawa, the team’s captain and leadoff hitter, had to contend with an as-yet slow offseason player market in the majors. Free-agent outfielders such as George Springer of the Houston Astros and Marcell Ozuna of the Atlanta Braves have yet to find deals.

With teams taking a hard look at their budgets after a short 2020 season played behind closed doors and the sluggish market for outfielders, time ran out on Nishikawa, a good glove who gets on base but lacks power.

A year ago, Nishikawa asked the Fighters to post him, and the club agreed after the end of this past season. His failed posting bid marks the second straight year in which a Japanese position player was posted but returned to Japan. Last year, Hiroshima Carp second baseman Ryosuke Kikuchi went back to his Central League club after failing to get a suitable contract offer in the majors.

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