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Non-playoff news: Yankees meet with Japanese phenom

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Yusei Kikuchi is his name, and he's the latest Japanese phenom to hit MLB's radar. Since he just graduated high school, he has to decide if he will pursue a Japanese or American baseball career. Entering NPB (Nippon Pro Baseball) will obligate him to play nine seasons before becoming an international free agent (like Hideki Matsui) and sign with an MLB team (or he could get posted before nine years, ala Ichiro and Dice-K). However, if he forgoes the NPB draft, he can sign with any ML team right now (but will face an NPB ban of three years - it's essentially a 'bite-less' ban, for no ML team would cut him within three years anyway).

What's exciting about him is his age (18), his velocity (he's reached 96 MPH), and his handedness (lefty). If he decides to play in Japan, he'll almost certainly be the #1 overall pick (he's the Japanese Stephen Strasburg).

He met with eight ML teams including the Yankees, Red Sox, Mets and Dodgers.

Today is the day he (or his parents) has to decide, one way or the other. I'll keep you posted as news becomes available...