• Kyodo

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Japanese right-hander Tomoyuki Sugano did not sign a contract with a major-league team and will remain with the Tokyo-based Yomiuri Giants, the Central League team said Friday.

The 31-year-old pitcher, who was posted by the Giants last month, had reportedly been in negotiations with several major league teams before his posting window expired Thursday. He had until 5 p.m. United States eastern time to complete a deal or return to the Giants.

"After seriously considering how the coronavirus could impact the MLB season, I've reached the decision to play for the Yomiuri Giants again this season," Sugano said.

"With the coronavirus, who knows, the season may be shortened again. I don't think I have to force myself to go this year," he said, adding that he will wait till the end of the season to rethink his future.

The Toronto Blue Jays, San Francisco Giants, Texas Rangers, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, San Diego Padres, and New York Mets were reportedly bidding for his services.

According to U.S. media, Yomiuri has offered him a four-year contract with a clause allowing him to terminate the deal unilaterally and leave before it ends.

He could still wind up in a major league uniform if he decides to move as an international free agent before the 2022 season.

Sugano, who recently won his second CL MVP award, went 14-2 with a 1.97 ERA in 137-1/3 innings this year. He is also a two-time winner of the Eiji Sawamura Award, given to Japan's most impressive starting pitcher, receiving the accolade in 2017 and 2018.

In his eight-year career, Sugano is 101-49 with a 2.32 ERA in 1,360 innings.

A highly sought-after pitcher in university, he vowed that he would only turn pro with the Yomiuri Giants, then managed by his uncle, Tatsunori Hara, or with a major league club.

Sugano sat out the 2012 season when the Pacific League's Nippon Ham Fighters won his negotiating rights in the 2011 draft.

Sugano is only the second player posted by the Giants following last year's shock move by right-hander Shun Yamaguchi, who signed with the Toronto Blue Jays.

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