Forty-one-year-old Ryoji Aikawa held a press conference at Jingu Stadium before tonight’s Yakult Swallows to announced his decision to retire after the season. He told the media he decided to retire because he realized there was no longer a place for him on the team with the development of Seiji Kobayashi and Shingo Usami. He also told the media that he was offered a job to coach, but he turned it down because he felt he was not yet ready.
Aikawa started his professional career with the Yokohama Bay Stars after he was selected in the fifth round of the 1994 draft. He used his free agent option after the 2008 season and signed with the Yakult Swallows. He again exercised his option after the 2014 season and joined the Yomiuri Giants.
Aikawa made the Olympic team in 2004 and the World Baseball Classic teams in 2006 and 2013. He played in 1,507 games, collected 1,149 hits, and finished with a slash line of .259/.309/.351.
Stats are through October 2, 2017.
[UPDATE 10/3 @ 11:25pm]
Aikawa played in tonight’s game against the Yakult Swallows at Jingu Stadium. He entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning and recorded an infield hit. He turned down a catch to do some catching during the game.
Players from both teams tossed Aikawa into the air eight times.
Source: Sponichi 10/3/2017
[UPDATE 11/24 @ 3:43pm]
The Giants held a retirement ceremony for Aikawa during Fan Festa on November 23.
Source: Yomiuri 11/24/2017