The Chiba Lotte Marines on Friday suspended outfielder Ikuhiro Kiyota indefinitely after he breached the Pacific League club’s rules regarding the coronavirus to dine with an outsider and then made a false report.
Kiyota dined with the person in late September when Lotte was on the road in Sapporo. The team had 14 members test positive for the virus, eight of them first-team players including the 34-year-old Kiyota, in early October.
The club at the time said it had set a rule banning players from dining with outsiders and none had breached it.
Kiyota will not be able to train with the team for an indefinite period, including the Marines’ preseason camp in Okinawa in February.
“I take it sincerely, deeply reflect on what I have done and will have a hard look at myself in order to become a player who can be supported by fans again,” Kiyota said in a statement.
Naoki Matsumoto, director of baseball operations at Lotte, was given a stern warning by the club over his lack of oversight.
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