Thirty-seven-year-old Shuichi Murata is planning to retire after the 2018 season. He is expected to make a statement during a press conference on August 1.
Murata was released by the Yomiuri Giants after the 2017 season. He signed with the BC League’s Tochigi Golden Braves with hopes of a possible return to the NPB this year. However, the trade deadline ended on July 31 with no offers.
In forty-two games with Tochigi so far this year (through July 31), Murata is 51-for-145 (.352 batting average) with nine home runs and forty-four RBI.
Source: Nikkan Sports 7/31/2018, Daily Sports 8/1/2018, Sanspo 8/1/2018, Sponichi 8/1/2018
[UPDATE 8/1 @ 2:07pm]
Murata held a press conference at a hotel in Tochigi earlier today to talk about his thoughts after the trade deadline.
- In Murata’s mind, if he was going to return to the NPB, it would have happened before the July 31 trade deadline.
- Murata plans to play until the last game of Tochigi’s season (September 9).
- Unless something changes, Murata is not thinking about waiting for a return to the NPB in 2019. He also finds it difficult to think about playing baseball somewhere else.
- Murata does not regret his decision to play for Tochigi this season.
- Murata was not really trying to make a case for his return to the NPB by continuing to play baseball this year. His goal was to become the kind of player kids want to watch and emulate.
- Murata is not retiring. He wants to avoid using the word right now because he is still an active player for Tochigi.
Source: Sponichi 8/1/2018, Sponichi 8/1/2018, Daily Sports 8/1/2018, Daily Sports 8/1/2018, Daily Sports 8/1/2018, Daily Sports 8/1/2018, Nikkan Sports 8/1/2018, Nikkan Sports 8/1/2018
[UPDATE 9/10 @ 3:10pm]
Murata got the start a third and batted clean-up during his retirement game on September 9. He went 1-for-5 (Fo2, F9, Ks, 1B8, G3) at the plate. Over 6,000 fans were in attendance. During a post-game ceremony, he told fans that he was retiring.
Source: Nikkan Sports 9/9/2018, Nikkan Sports 9/9/2018, Nikkan Sports 9/9/2018, Sponichi 9/9/2018, Tokyo Sports 9/9/2018, Sanspo 9/9/2018