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Report: Yankees holding No. 18 for Japanese star Yamamoto

Koji Watanabe / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The New York Yankees are reportedly one of the teams showing strong interest in Japanese pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto - and even have a jersey number in mind if he decides to sign with the franchise.

The Yankees have been holding the No. 18 jersey for Yamamoto over the past year, sources told SNY's Andy Martino.

That number is generally the one an ace pitcher wears in Japan, per Martino.

Former Yankees right-hander Hiroki Kuroda wore No. 18 when he pitched for the club from 2012-14.

Yamamoto is one of the most sought-after pitchers available in free agency this offseason. The 25-year-old enjoyed a spectacular seven-year career with NPB's Orix Buffaloes. Yamamoto won three straight Sawamura Awards as Japan's top pitcher and posted a sparkling 1.82 ERA in 172 career NPB appearances.

The San Francisco Giants, New York Mets, and Los Angeles Dodgers are also among the teams that are reportedly interested in Yamamoto.

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