Japan star pitcher Tomoyuki Sugano set to return to NPB

Japan star pitcher Tomoyuki Sugano set to return to NPB
Despite a lot of interest, no MLB club reached a deal with the Samurai Japan hurler, who appeared in two Premier12 games in 2015.

Right-handed starting pitcher Tomoyuki Sugano is returning to Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) for the 2021 season after reportedly signing a four-year deal with the Tokyo Yomiuri Giants that includes opt-out options.

The Giants made Sugano, 31, available to Major League Baseball (MLB) clubs through the posting system and while various clubs, including the Toronto Blue Jays, the San Diego Padres and the Boston Red Sox, showed interest in the hard-throwing righthander, no club reached a deal by the 7 January deadline.

Sugano has played his whole professional career for the Yomiuri Giants. He made his debut in 2013 and has appeared in 197 games, 99 as a starter. Sugano has a 101-50 NPB record and a career 2.34 earned-run average. He struck out 1,216 batters in a total 1,362 innings pitched. He was named the Central League MVP twice and earned two (2017, 2018) Sawamura Awards (the best NPB pitcher). Sugano has appeared in six NPB All-Star Games and earned three Gold Gloves.

Sugano appeared in two games, starting one against USA, for Samurai Japan during the inaugural WBSC Premier12 2015. He also represented Japan at the World Baseball Classic 2017.