Tigers Captain Toritani Staying With Hanshin

Tigers captain Toritani staying with Hanshin Hanshin Tigers shortstop Takashi Toritani has declined to file for free agency, a team official said Monday, the last day for players to file.

The Tigers' 31-year-old captain played in all 144 of Hanshin's games this season. Toritani led both leagues with 94 walks and led the Tigers in runs, hits, triples, and RBIs. This season he became eligible to be an unrestricted free agent.

"I'm relieved," said team director Eiichi Takano, who said Toritani contacted the club on Monday morning with the news. "That's one less thing to worry about."

When the team extended a formal contract offer on Oct. 23, Toritani showed no willingness to accept it.

The Tigers, who finished a disappointing fifth this season in the Central League under first-year skipper Yutaka Wada, had two players file for free agency, second baseman Keiichi Hirano and closer Kyuji Fujikawa. Hirano is a domestic free agent and has not ruled out staying with Hanshin, while Fujikawa aims to play in the major leagues.

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