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Potential Rangers Target Tanaka Wants To Pursue MLB Career

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Japan's pitcher Masahiro Tanaka throws the ball against Cuba during the fourth inning of their first-round Pool A game in the World Baseball Classic  tournament in Fukuoka on March 6, 2013. Cuba beat Japan 6-3.     AFP PHOTO / KAZUHIRO NOGI        (Photo credit should read KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images)

Japan’s pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (Photo: KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images)

ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – If the Texas Rangers have interest in Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, they will likely have stiff competition. But the biggest threat to their pursuit of the right-hander might not be another American team.

Tanaka wants to move to Major League Baseball next season but his Japanese team doesn’t want to let him go.

MLB and Nippon Professional Baseball’s new posting system caps the fee for players at $20 million, less than half what Japanese teams received for pitchers Yu Darvish and Daisuke Matsuzaka.

Tanaka went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA with the Rakuten Golden Eagles of the Pacific League during the regular season. He will not become eligible for free agency until after the 2015 season and can move to MLB only if the Eagles agree to post him.

He said at a news conference Tuesday: “I informed my team that I would like them to allow me to test my abilities in Major League Baseball next season.”

Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star Telegram reports that the Rangers would be willing to post the maximum $20 million if Tanaka is posted.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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