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The Toronto Blue Jays released Japanese right-hander Shun Yamaguchi on Friday, Major League Baseball announced, making him free to play in Japan if he chooses.

The 33-year-old Yamaguchi joined the Blue Jays a year ago on a two-year deal but never played in Toronto since it moved its home games to Buffalo, New York, during the coronavirus-hit 2020 season.

The first player ever posted by the tradition-bound Yomiuri Giants of Japan’s Central League, Yamaguchi signed with Toronto for $3.175 million a year. He pitched 25⅔ innings in 17 relief appearances for the Blue Jays, going 2-4 with an 8.06 ERA.

The Jays designated Yamaguchi for assignment on Wednesday, and once he cleared waivers, had the option of either releasing him or assigning him to the minors.

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