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Japanese ace Yamamoto can head to MLB after club agrees to transfer

Yoshinobu Yamamoto Japan Yoshinobu Yamamoto - Getty Images

TOKYO (AP) — Yoshinobu Yamamoto will be allowed to move to a Major League Baseball team under the player posting system, the Orix Buffaloes said Sunday after it lost Game 7 of the Japan Series to the Hanshin Tigers.

The ace pitcher has been widely reported ready to move to MLB and is expected to be a top target.

“I’d like to thank my team for accepting my request,” Yamamoto was quoted by Japan’s Kyodo news agency as saying after Orix lost 7-1 in the Games 7 on Sunday.

Yamamoto pitched two games during the Japan Series — the World Series equivalent for Japanese baseball. He allowed seven earned runs in Game 1 but came back in Game 6 and struck out 14 — a series record.

The 25-year-old right-handed pitcher has a 70-29 record in Japanese baseball. His trademark is his wide assortment of breaking pitches, excellent command, and a fastball in the mid-90 mph range.

He was 16-6 this season with a 1.21 ERA.. He struck out 169 in 164 innings.