Baseball: Hawks ace Kodai Senga gets big raise, keeps MLB option open

SoftBank Hawks’ Kodai Senga speaks at a press conference in Fukuoka, southwestern Japan on December 5, 2021. (Kyodo)

FUKUOKA (Kyodo) – With a year away from a possible move to the U.S. major leagues, SoftBank Hawks ace Kodai Senga on Sunday signed a five-year contract with a player sent off next year that would allow him to continue his career. dreams of playing abroad.

Senga, 28, will receive 600 million yen ($ 5.3 million) in 2022, an increase of 200 million yen from his 2021 salary.

“I received a good evaluation and a number that brings a sense of responsibility,” said Senga, who has spent most of the preseason in rehab only to be sent off for much of the first half of the season. due to an ankle injury suffered in April. start of the season.

Senga returned to the pitch for the gold-medalist Japanese Olympic team Tokyo and won nine games after the Olympic break to finish with 10 wins, the sixth consecutive season he has won 10 or more games.

Barring a serious injury, Senga should be able to rack up the necessary duty time next season to file an international free agency application. For years, he begged the Hawks to let him go via the display system, but was refused each time.

“As a baseball player, it is essential that I live my life aiming higher,” he said. “My thinking on this has not wavered.”

“It’s been a great year for me. (Next year) I want to surpass all the numbers I’ve achieved so far.”

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