Outfielder Shogo Akiyama is expected to split from the San Diego Padres' Triple-A affiliate El Paso and could return to Japanese baseball, a source familiar with the matter said Wednesday.
The former standout for the Seibu Lions of Japan's Pacific League is looking for a new team and will consider joining a Nippon Professional Baseball club, according to the source.
Akiyama signed with the Cincinnati Reds as a free agent in 2020. In 142 major league games over two seasons, he averaged .224 with 21 RBIs and no home runs.
The Reds released the 34-year-old with one year left on his three-year, $21 million deal ahead of the current season.
He signed with El Paso in May and has batted .343 with three home runs and 21 RBIs in 16 games through Tuesday.
A five-time NPB All-Star and six-time Golden Glove winner with the Lions, Akiyama broke Japan's single-season record with 216 hits in 2015 and led the PL with a .322 batting average in 2017.