- Jerry Crasnick, ESPN.com MLB Sr. Writer
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Hitoshi Tamura, an outfield fixture in Japan for more than a decade, is exploring a move to Major League Baseball as a free agent this winter, a baseball source told ESPN.com.
Tamura, 33, was a Pacific League All-Star this season for the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks. He leads the team with a .324 batting average, .924 OPS, 27 home runs and 89 RBIs.
Tamura had been plagued by injuries since his debut season with the Yokohama BayStars in 1997 but managed to stay healthy this year and make his first career All-Star team.
The source said Tamura is open to talking with all 30 clubs but would prefer signing with a major league team on the West Coast. According to reports, the Arizona Diamondbacks, Texas Rangers, San Francisco Giants, San Diego Padres and Cleveland Indians are among the big league clubs that have scouted Tamura.
Jerry Crasnick is a senior writer for ESPN.com.