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Baseball: DeNA closer Yasuaki Yamasaki signs 6-yr deal, not to seek MLB move

DeNA BayStars closer Yasuaki Yamasaki poses for a photo after signing a six-year contract with the Central League baseball club in Yokohama on Nov. 29, 2022. (Kyodo)

YOKOHAMA (Kyodo) -- DeNA BayStars closer Yasuaki Yamasaki signed a six-year contract with the Central League club Tuesday after deciding not to seek a move to the major leagues through the posting system.

    The latest deal pays him an estimated 300 million yen ($2.16 million) a year, without a clause that permits him to terminate it during the six-year period.

    In a significant turnaround from two years of struggle, Yamasaki had a career-best 1.33 ERA while tying his career-high 37 saves in 2022 for the BayStars, who moved up to second place from last in the six-team CL standings in 2021.

    "I'll swing my arm hard for the BayStars in my long playing career," the 30-year-old right-hander said at the club's office in Yokohama. "I was able to feel a good kind of pressure for the team's position in the standings. I want to win the championship next year."

    Yamasaki is 43 saves away from joining the Meikyukai, a charitable organization for players with 2,000 hits, 200 pitching wins or 250 saves in Japan, or for those turning pro in Japan whose combined totals from NPB and the majors reach those sums.

    "My position as the team's closer hasn't been guaranteed for next year," Yamasaki said. "I'll try to win that role first and then take one game at a time."

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