First-year pitcher Colin Rea joined the exodus of import players leaving Japan so they can be with their families, the SoftBank Hawks announced Sunday.
The 31-year-old right-hander was 3-1 in six games with a 2.03 ERA for the defending Pacific League champions, who will resume their season after the Olympic break on Friday.
In a comment in Japanese released by the club, Rea thanked the team but said the premature birth of his child created a situation from which he was unable to return after what was to be a temporary visit to his homeland.
In addition to Rea, Ernesto Mejia of the Lions, Stefen Romero of the Orix Buffaloes and Dustin Smoak of the Yomiuri Giants have all abandoned their contracts to see to their families.
On this week’s podcast, John E. Gibson speaks to Zach Neal of the Lions, who gives an update on his situation. Give it a listen when it is released on Monday.