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Japanese pitcher Yamaguchi to pursue career in MLB

Japanese pitcher Shun Yamaguchi, who led Japan’s Central League in wins, strikeouts and winning percentage this season, says he wants to move to the major leagues through the posting system.

The 32-year-old right-hander declared his intention this week and becomes the first player from the Yomiuri Giants to pursue a career in the majors.

Yamaguchi went 15-4 this season with 188 strikeouts and a .789 winning percentage, helping Yomiuri to its first CL pennant in five years.

Japan starting pitcher Shun Yamaguchi walks off the field after the top of the first inning of the Premier12 baseball tournament final game against South Korea at Tokyo Dome in Tokyo Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019. (AP PhotoJae C. Hong)

He signed with the Giants before the 2016 season after leaving the DeNA BayStars as a free agent.

The posting system allows Japanese players under contract to negotiate with major league teams. If a contract is reached, their Japanese club receives a transfer fee based on a percentage of the value of the player’s contract.

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Japan starting pitcher Shun Yamaguchi delivers a pitch against South Korea in the first inning of their Premier12 baseball tournament final game at Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019. (AP PhotoToru Takahashi)