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Masahiro Tanaka's team says he can seek career in MLB

Published December 25, 2013 6:55 pm

Baseball • Japanese team reverses course, will allow star pitcher to come to U.S.
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Tokyo • Pitcher Masahiro Tanaka is set to move to the majors next season after his Japanese team Rakuten Eagles announced Wednesday it was prepared to let him leave, reversing its earlier rejection.

Rakuten Eagles president Yozo Tachibana told a news conference that the team has decided to release him through the posting system, paving the way for his departure. Tachibana said Tanaka's outstanding performance over the past seven years, including this season, meant he deserved to be allowed to move to the U.S.

Tanaka, a 25-year-old right-hander, went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA with the Eagles during the regular season and sought a move to the majors. But he has two years remaining on his contract and Rakuten was under no obligation to release him.

The Associated Press