Thirty-four-year-old Hiroyasu Tanaka held a press conference at the Yakult Swallows’ team office on October 11 to announce his decision to leave the organization because he wants to continue playing. The Swallows told Tanaka they no longer needed him as a player and offered him a job as a coach.
The following comment from Tanaka was posted to the Swallows’ website:
I spent twelve years in the Yakult organization. I want to express my gratitude [to everyone] including team officials. Tough veterans and energetic young players, everything was a great experience. And most of all, the fans that cheered through good and bad times, kept me going. I do not know what the future holds, but I hope to use my experiences to guide me.