Sponichi is out with an article that's saying Yusei Kikuchi could decide to declare his intention of going to the Majors as early as the 15th.
I'm in the middle of reading the article still so I'll continue to update this post as I finish up the article.
====== Update 9/10/2009 @ 7:46am JST
Ok, so here's the deal. Kikuchi has been waiting for his high school manager, Hiroshi Sasaki, to return from the States. He returned yesterday (Wed). The two have already scheduled to meet on the 15th.
When reporters confronted Sasaki at Narita airport about what he was currently thinking in terms of advice for Kikuchi, he said, "I want to help him along the path that will allow him to grow the most and to allow him to do what he think is best for him. I think that's my job."
With Kikuchi stating his desire to go to the Majors as soon as possible, Sasaki's statements could be seen as a sign that he will not try to keep Kikuchi in Japan.
That said, Sasaki did seem surprised about Kikuchi changing his mind all of a sudden. At the end of Koshien, Kikuchi did back-peddle a bit and state that he wanted to stay in Japan because he wanted to take care of "unfinished business." So this meeting for Sasaki is more about wanting to confirm the facts for himself: just how badly does Kikuchi want to go to the Majors and is it really him talking?
Incidentally, from what I've read about Sasaki, he really likes to take care of his players. After seeing the MLB environment (Dodgers and Angels) up-close and personal during his trip with the All-Japan High School team, he may not be entirely against seeing Kikuchi in the Majors.
"I think the Japanese way of controlling pitchers can really help pitchers grow," said Sasaki, "but one good thing about the Majors is how careful they are with growing pitchers."
He later added, "There are plenty of good things about the Majors. But it can't just be about simply wanting to go. I'd like to speak to him about this realistically."
From the sounds of it, Kikuchi's status is still up in the air.
But come the 15th... The Japanese press will be all over Sasaki and Kikuchi.
My guess: if Kikuchi IS really serious about going to the Majors, he may very well be on his way.