Fukudome nixes move to Japan's Giants in favor of majors

Updated: December 9, 2007, 11:55 PM ET
Associated Press

NAGOYA, Japan -- Japanese free-agent Kosuke Fukudome has decided not to move to the Yomiuri Giants and will sign with a major league team instead, the Nikkansports newspaper reported Sunday.

Fukudome had previously indicated the Giants would be the only Japanese team he would consider playing for next season, but has now ruled them out, opening the way for a move to the major leagues. Fukudome has drawn interest from the Chicago Cubs, the San Diego Padres and the Chicago White Sox.

The 30-year-old Fukudome is regarded as one of the best outfielders in Japanese professional baseball. He was a key member of the Japan team that won the inaugural World Baseball Classic in March 2006.

He had surgery on his right elbow in August and sat out the Japan Series, but has 192 homers and a .305 batting average over nine seasons with the Chunichi Dragons, who won their first championship in 53 years on Nov. 2.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press