18-year-old Japanese left-hander
Yusei Kikuchi, who was courted by eight MLB teams in recent weeks, announced his intentions to remain in Japan during a press conference on Sunday.
“I want to be given the chance to play in Japan. For now
I’m closing the door to the Majors, and after becoming a top pitcher in
Japan I want to take on the world.”
Kikuchi is expected to be the No. 1 selection in the Nippon
Professional Baseball draft on Oct. 29. Once a player joins a Japanese
team, he must play nine seasons before becoming a free agent. He could
always leave earlier, however much like Daisuke Matsuzaka, MLB teams
would have to bid for his services through a posting system.
Though it’s not known if MLB teams
even spoke terms with the young lefty, some believe he could have made
as much as 2009 first-round pick Tyler Matzek of the Rockies. Widely
regarded as the top high school lefty in the draft, Matzek signed for
The Astros rallied late to keep their winning streak alive, extending it to 11 games with a 7-4 victory over the Royals on Sunday afternoon. The club is now 48-25, leading the Mariners by a full game in the AL West.
The Royals took a 4-2 lead after three innings, but Brian McCann knocked in a run with a single in the top of the fourth to cut the deficit to one run. Carlos Correa hit a game-tying solo home run in the eighth. The Astros kept their foot on the gas, scoring two more runs on RBI singles from Evan Gattis and Marwin Gonzalez in the top of the eighth and another in the top of the ninth on Correa’s sacrifice fly.
Starter Lance McCullers allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks with nine strikeouts over six innings. Tony Sipp worked a scoreless seventh. Ken Giles did the same in the eighth. Hector Rondon finished off the win in the ninth, working around a one-out walk with a game-ending double play.
After winning all 10 games on their road trip against the Rangers, Athletics, and Royals, the Astros will head home for a nine-game homestand against the Rays, Royals, and Blue Jays. Each club is below .500.