Former MLB skipper Valentine agrees to manage in Japan

Updated: November 3, 2003, 10:33 AM ET

TOKYO - Bobby Valentine, who spent 15 seasons managing in the major leagues, has decided to return to Japan and will manage the Lotte Marines of the Pacific League, the team announced Monday.

Valentine managed the Marines to a 69-58 record in 1995 but joined the New York Mets in 1996. During a turbulent tenure with the Mets, Valentine guided the squad to playoff appearances in 1999-2000.

According to media reports, the deal is for three years and ends Valentine's association with ESPN. Dismissed by the Mets after the 2002 season - just two years after leading New York to the World Series - Valentine spent the 2003 campaign as a studio analyst for the sports network.

Valentine, 53, also managed the Texas Rangers from 1985-92.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index