Rakuten Eagles star pitcher Masahiro Tanaka issued an apology on Friday after the Pacific League club cut ties with reliever Tomohiro Anraku for his abusive behavior toward a number of younger players.
Club president Masayuki Morii on Thursday said Rakuten was releasing the 27-year-old Anraku following an extensive investigation into his alleged harassment and bullying of teammates.
In a post on social media site X, formerly Twitter, the 35-year-old Tanaka said he should done more to exert a positive influence inside the clubhouse.
"Harassment is inexcusable. As a senior member of the team, I should have been more attentive to my younger teammates and taken the initiative to step in and say something if there was a problem. I regret that I was ignorant," Tanaka wrote.
The former New York Yankees ace has 197 wins in a career spanning MLB and Japanese pro baseball. After seven years in the U.S. majors, he returned to the Eagles, his first professional club, in 2021.
"I will do everything in my power so that the team can come together once more and our fans can have confidence in supporting us as we battle for the pennant," he wrote.
Among the abusive behavior reported to the team, Anraku is said to have pulled down a player's underpants in the locker room and made harassing late-night phone calls to teammates after they declined to dine with him.