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Baseball: Ex-Giant Murata hints at retirement after lack of NPB interest

Shuichi Murata attends a press conference in Oyama, Tochigi Prefecture, on Aug. 1, 2018. (Kyodo)

OYAMA, Japan (Kyodo) -- Former Yomiuri Giants third baseman Shuichi Murata hinted Wednesday he may retire after his hopes of returning to Nippon Professional Baseball this season were dashed.

    Murata, who joined the Tochigi Golden Braves in the independent Baseball Challenge League, did not receive any interest from NPB clubs by the July 31 transfer deadline and implied this season may be his last.

    "I don't intend to comment about my retirement today. But I can't imagine myself trying to return to NPB next season," Murata said at a press conference in Oyama, Tochigi Prefecture.

    "I don't see myself playing baseball next season in uniform."

    The Giants did not offer the 37-year-old a 2018 contract as the team shifted toward a younger roster. The two-time home run king had been waiting for an offer from NPB clubs while playing in the 10-team BC League.

    Tochigi will play its final game of the season on Sept. 9.

    "I was hoping to return to NPB and was doing my best preparing for it. The fact is that it didn't happen," he said. "I want to hit as many home runs in front of my fans (over the remainder of the season)."

    Murata joined the Giants in 2012 as a free agent after nine seasons with the Yokohama BayStars. He won four CL Best Nine Awards and three Golden Glove Awards at third base.

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