Japanese prospect Kikuchi not ready for majors
TOKYO (AP) -Japanese high school pitcher Yusei Kikuchi has decided not to play in the U.S. major leagues for now, opting instead for Japan's professional leagues.
The 18-year-old left-hander, who throws a fastball that has been clocked as high as 96 mph said Sunday he wasn't yet ready for the majors.
"I don't think I have what it takes to complete at the world level yet,'' Kikuchi said at a press conference.
Eight major league teams, including the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, held talks with Kikuchi in Japan last week.
Japan's amateur draft will be held on Oct. 29 and Kikuchi is expected to be the top pick.
Once Japanese players join pro teams in Japan, they must wait nine seasons before becoming free agents.
Some players, like Daisuke Matsuzaka of the Red Sox, go to the majors earlier through the posting system that allows major league teams to bid for the negotiating rights to players.
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