TOKYO (AP) - Pitcher Kyuji Fujikawa of the Hanshin Tigers was one of four players from Japan professional baseball who became unrestricted free agents Wednesday in hopes of moving to Major League Baseball.
The other players were Seibu Lions shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima, Nippon Ham Fighters infielder Kensuke Tanaka and Orix Buffaloes catcher Takeshi Hidaka.
Fujikawa, a 32-year-old right-handed closer, has 220 saves over 12 seasons with the Tigers. He played for two-time champion Japan at the 2006 and 2009 World Baseball Classic and the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
The New York Yankees won the negotiating rights for Nakajima under the posting system after the 2011 season, but failed to reach an agreement and he returned to Seibu for the 2012 season.