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Kikuchi decides to stay in Japan

Oct 25, 2009, 10:00 AM EDT

18-year-old Japanese left-hander
Yusei Kikuchi, who was courted by eight MLB teams in recent weeks, announced his intentions to remain in Japan during a press conference on Sunday.

“I want to be given the chance to play in Japan. For now
I’m closing the door to the Majors, and after becoming a top pitcher in
Japan I want to take on the world.”



Kikuchi is expected to be the No. 1 selection in the Nippon
Professional Baseball draft on Oct. 29. Once a player joins a Japanese
team, he must play nine seasons before becoming a free agent. He could
always leave earlier, however much like Daisuke Matsuzaka, MLB teams
would have to bid for his services through a posting system.




Though it’s not known if MLB teams
even spoke terms with the young lefty, some believe he could have made
as much as 2009 first-round pick Tyler Matzek of the Rockies. Widely
regarded as the top high school lefty in the draft, Matzek signed for
$3.9 million.

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