Fukudome declares free agency

Fukudome declares free agency

NAGOYA, Japan -- Chunichi Dragons outfielder Kosuke Fukudome declared for free agency Monday, opening the way for a possible move to the Major Leagues.

"I'd like to see what kind of interest I get," he said. "We'll see where this goes."

The 30-year-old Fukudome is regarded as one of the best outfielders in Japanese professional baseball. He was a key member of the Japanese team that won the inaugural World Baseball Classic in March 2006.

He had surgery on his right elbow in August and sat out the Japan Series, but has 192 homers and a .305 batting average over nine seasons with the Dragons, who won their first title in 53 years on Nov. 2.

Many have compared his defensive skills in the outfield to those of Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki.