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Baseball: Ex-Giant Murata announces retirement

Former Yomiuri Giants third baseman Shuichi Murata is seen in Oyama, Tochigi Prefecture, on Sept. 9, 2018. (Mainichi)

OYAMA, Japan (Kyodo) -- Former Yomiuri Giants third baseman Shuichi Murata announced his retirement from professional baseball on Sunday, closing the curtain on a 16-year career.

After being released by the Giants last December, Murata joined the independent Baseball Challenge League's Tochigi Golden Braves. He was hoping to return to Nippon Professional Baseball but did not receive interest from any of the 12 clubs by the July 31 transfer deadline.

"I will retire from playing as of today," Murata said after the Golden Braves' final game of the season on Sunday in Oyama, Tochigi Prefecture.

Murata signed with the Giants in 2012 as a free agent after nine seasons with the Yokohama BayStars. The Giants had not offered the 37-year-old a 2018 contract as the team shifted toward a younger roster.

He batted .269 with 360 home runs over 15 seasons in the NPB, and was 135 hits shy of 2,000. He won four CL Best Nine Awards and three Golden Glove Awards at third base.

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