Wednesday, October 21, 2009
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Ex-M's catcher Johjima urged to return to Japan

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[October 21, 2009]  TOKYO (AP) -- Japanese home run king Sadaharu Oh would like to see catcher Kenji Johjima return to his former team in Fukuoka.

Johjima opted out of the final two seasons and $15.8 million of his contract with the Seattle Mariners on Monday, allowing him to sign with a Japanese team.

"The Hawks need someone of his stature," Oh said Tuesday. "But of course, this is a decision that would have to be made by the entire organization."

The 69-year-old Oh managed the Hawks from 1995 to 2008 and continues to serve as an adviser.

Johjima played for the Hawks when they won the Japan Series in 1999 and 2003. Over 11 seasons with Fukuoka, Johjima was a six-time all-star and won seven consecutive Gold Gloves.

Johjima's contract gave him the right to opt out by Nov. 15 for the purpose of finishing his career in Japan.

The Hanshin Tigers of Japan's Central League have also expressed interest in signing the 33-year-old.

[Associated Press]

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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