Baseball: Nippon Ham pitcher Uwasawa seeking MLB move

Nippon Ham Fighters starting pitcher Naoyuki Uwasawa said Saturday he will try to sign with a major league club this offseason through the posting system.

The 29-year-old right-hander had a 9-9 win-loss record with a 2.96 ERA in 24 games in 2023, throwing 170 innings, the most in the Pacific League. He was 70-62 with a 3.19 ERA in 173 games over nine seasons, all with the Fighters.

"Teams need pitchers that can eat up innings," Uwasawa told a press conference in Kitahiroshima, just outside Sapporo. "I can contribute by going many innings without getting an injury."

Asked to comment on his former Fighters teammate Shohei Ohtani, Uwasawa said, "I'll be thrilled if I get a chance to face him."

Uwasawa, Nippon Ham's sixth-round pick in the 2011 draft, reached a career-high 12 wins in 2021.

Once Major League Baseball accepts Uwasawa's application, its 30 teams will be notified that he is free to sign with any of them. Uwasawa will then have 45 days to sign with a team willing to pay Nippon Ham a posting fee based on the amount of money he will receive.

© Kyodo News