Kikuchi gets pro career off ground

Kyodo News

Hanamaki Higashi High School left-hander Yusei Kikuchi, who is drawing attention as he decides whether he will try to join the major leagues or Japanese pro baseball, filed paperwork Monday to get his career under way.

Hanamaki Higashi manager Hiroshi Sasaki submitted paperwork to the high school baseball federation in Iwate Prefecture on Kikuchi’s behalf stating his desire to turn pro.

The move opens the way for professional teams, including those in the majors, to make contact with Kikuchi in a race to secure his services. With the submission of the paperwork, Kikuchi can be named in the Japanese baseball draft starting Oct. 29.

He is expected to be named as a No. 1 draft pick by several Japanese clubs.

“He wants to make a decision after hearing what the teams in the majors have to say,” Sasaki said.

Kikuchi helped Hanamaki Higashi to a runnerup finish at the national high school invitational in April and to the semifinals in the national championship in August. He clocked a 154 km-per-hour fastball in the third round of the national championship.