Baseball: Yakult closer McGough set to leave, take shot at majors

Yakult Swallows closer Scott McGough will leave the Tokyo-based baseball club in a bid to pitch in the major leagues, a club official said Wednesday.

Yakult accepted the 33-year-old's departure after talk of taking a shot at the majors came up when the two sides were discussing plans for next season.

McGough had 31 saves last year and 38 saves this year, helping the Swallows win back-to-back Central League titles. In 2021, the Swallows claimed the Japan Series championship.

"I guess he received a good offer," Yakult front office member Masayuki Okumura said. "With his age, this is his last chance. If it materializes, we'll be proud."

"A little-known Triple-A pitcher carried the underdog Swallows to the top of the league, and there is a team that highly values his ability. He appreciated us, but we doubly thank him."

McGough joined the Swallows in 2019 from the Colorado Rockies' Triple-A affiliate. He had a 15-8 win-loss record with 80 saves and a 2.94 ERA in 236 games over four seasons in Japan.

© Kyodo News