Baseball: Eagles to release pitcher Anraku over workplace abuse

The Rakuten Eagles will release pitcher Tomohiro Anraku after investigating troubling allegations of harassment against him, the Pacific League club's president, Masayuki Morii, said Thursday.

Multiple Eagles players said they testified to the team regarding the 27-year-old's abusive behavior toward a number of younger players.

The abuse they reported included Anraku pulling down a player's underpants in the locker room, exposing him to teammates for ridicule, and making harassing late-night phone calls to teammates after they declined to dine with him.

"It's mostly true," Morii said.

The club's compliance staff has interviewed the pitcher multiple times and reached out to around 100 people within the team, including players and staff. Anraku was asked to remain at home while his contract negotiations, scheduled for last Saturday, were put on hold.

On Thursday, the club removed Anraku from the list of existing players it can sign for next season. The move came the day all 12 teams are required to submit names of players they intend to keep on contract for 2024.

The right-hander, Rakuten's first-round pick in the 2014 draft, made 57 appearances, all in relief, this year.

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