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Dening signs with NPB's Swallows
Adelaide slugger reaches highest level of Japanese baseball
05/18/2015 9:53 PM ET
After four seasons with Sydney, Dening joined Adelaide for the 2015/16 season.
After four seasons with Sydney, Dening joined Adelaide for the 2015/16 season. (SMP Images/ABL Media)

TOKYO, Japan -- Australian Baseball League All-Star and SA Power Networks Adelaide Bite outfielder Mitch Dening signed with the Tokyo Yakult Swallows of Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), earning the chance to continue his career at the pinnacle of Japanese baseball.

NPB is widely considered to be the most prestigious global baseball league, outside of MLB in the USA. The Swallows (22-25, .444) are tied for fourth place in the Central League, one of NPB's two divisions.

Dening began the 2015 season with the Niigata Albirex of Japan's independent Baseball Challenge League, hitting .270 with one home run and 14 RBIs in 18 games. He posted a .321 batting average and slugged 12 home runs for Niigata last season. He was delighted by the news of his recent signing.

"It feels incredible," Dening said.

"To think that all my hard work has paid off and today's the day I begin my journey in Japanese Professional Baseball is amazing."

A former member of the Boston Red Sox organisation, the 26-year-old played five seasons in the US minor leagues, hitting .272 collectively over five different levels. He briefly played for the Washington Wild Things of the independent Frontier League in 2012, while simultaneously suiting up for the Sydney Blue Sox when the modern ABL began in 2010.

Dening moved from the Blue Sox to the Bite for the 2014/15 season, and helped lead Adelaide to the championship series, clubbing the game-winning home run in Game 1 as the Bite went back-to-back-to-back in the bottom of the seventh inning. A longtime member of the Australian Men's National Team, he went 2-for-3 with two RBIs in Team Australia's comeback win in the 2015 ABL All-Star Game, presented Levi's, and was on the field when the Aussies shocked the baseball world by shutting out the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-0 on the eve of the 2014 MLB Opening Series in Sydney.

TheABL.com.au will update this piece as more information becomes available.

This story was not subject to the approval of the Australian Baseball League or its clubs.