Japanese pitcher Takahashi eyes Majors

Japanese pitcher Takahashi eyes Majors

Left-handed pitcher Hisanori Takahashi, who recently completed his 10th season with the Yomiuri Giants of Japan, declared free agency on Tuesday and said that he wants to play in the Major Leagues.

Takahashi, 34, was 10-6 with a 2.94 ERA in 25 games this past season. He was 79-66 with a 3.70 ERA in 245 career games for Yomiuri.

Takahashi's best season was 2007, when he went 14-4 with a 2.75 ERA in 28 games. He saved 15 games in 2006, when the Giants used him as a reliever.

"I decided I wanted to try out for the Majors three days ago," Takahashi said, according to sponichi.co.jp. "If I didn't have confidence in myself, I wouldn't have made the decision. I want to go to a team that needs me. I'd be extremely happy if I'm used as a starter."

Takahashi started Game 4 of the Japan Series against the Nippon Ham Fighters and lost, giving up five runs on six hits in five innings in an 8-4 loss. The Giants won the series, four games to two.

Takahashi said at a news conference that he wants to follow in the footsteps of former teammates Hideki Matsui and Koji Uehara. Matsui is a free agent after playing the past seven seasons with the Yankees. Uehara signed as a free agent with the Orioles in January and went 2-4 with a 4.05 ERA in 12 starts.

"It's a dream I have," Takahashi said. "And I'd like to attain that dream. Seeing Uehara in the Majors, that made me want to go to the Majors even more. I want to return to the days of being a rookie and take on this new challenge."

Bobbie Dittmeier is an editor/producer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.