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Rays’ Yoshi Tsutsugo heads back to Japan

With coronavirus conditions improving in his native country, Tsutsugo also will have a chance to see his family.

ST. PETERSBURG — Rays outfielder/third baseman Yoshi Tsutsugo headed back to his native Japan on Tuesday.

A Tsutsugo rep said last week that he was considering the return given the uncertainty of the delay in starting the major-league season and because conditions regarding the coronavirus were improving In Japan. Also, Tsutsugo has a wife, toddler daughter and other family there.

Tsutsugo, 28, signed a two-year, $12 million contract in December with the Rays, who also paid $2.4 million to his former Yokohama team and added three staff members to work with him.

Tsutsugo is believed to be the first of nine current Japanese major-leaguers to head home since the delay to the big-league season was announced.

Rays first baseman Ji-Man Choi made a similar decision last week to go back to his native South Korea.