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Baseball: Marines skipper Ito to step down at season's end

CHIBA (Kyodo) -- Hall of Fame catcher Tsutomu Ito said Sunday he will step down as manager of the Lotte Marines at the end of the season.

    Ito, in his fifth year at the helm of the Pacific League club, has finished third in three of his first four seasons. This year, however, the Marines have been in last place since May 3 and started Sunday's game against the Seibu Lions 34 games out of first place.

    He tendered his resignation on Aug. 5 when the Marines were on the road in Sendai, and it was accepted.

    "I was prepared to quit before the All-Star games," Ito said. "All the losing has crushed the hopes of the fans."

    "I am responsible for the results. Results are the bottom line each and every year in this business, and I don't want to make excuses."

    The 54-year-old played his entire career with the Lions, and managed them for four seasons from 2004 to 2007, winning the Japan Series in his first year in charge. Ito also coached with the Doosan Bears in the Korea Baseball Organization in 2012.

    This year, Ito became just the third catcher to be inducted to the Hall of Fame as a professional. The two others were Katsuya Nomura and Ito's contemporary, Atsuya Furuta.

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