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Taguchi returning to Japan

Taguchi returning to Japan

Outfielder So Taguchi, who was a member of two World Series championship teams, is heading back to Japan, likely to finish up his career where it began.

After eight seasons in the big leagues, the 40-year-old Taguchi has signed with the Orix Buffaloes, the team announced Saturday.

Taguchi debuted with Orix in 1992 and spent 10 seasons with the club before signing as a free agent with the Cardinals in 2002, becoming the first Japanese-born player in team history.

Despite being used mostly off the bench during his six seasons with the St. Louis, Taguchi was nonetheless a fan favorite. His home run off Mets closer Billy Wagner in the ninth inning of Game 2 of the 2006 National League Championship Series was a key moment in St. Louis' run to the World Series.

Taguchi joined the Phillies in 2008 and earned his second World Series ring. He appeared in six games with the Cubs last year after spending most of the season in the Minor Leagues.

Overall, Taguchi batted .279 with 19 home runs, 163 RBIs and 39 stolen bases in 672 Major League games.

Ed Eagle is a reporter and producer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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