According to Sponichi, forty-year-old Yasuhiko Yabuta is planning to retire at the end of the season. An announcement could be made as early as today.
Yabuta entered the year as a candidate to close games for Lotte this season. But he hurt his left ankle during spring camp and began the year at Ni-gun. Neck and right should problems hindered his progress and sideline him after a Ni-gun game against Yakult on April 20.
The success of Naoya Masuda and other younger pitchers may have also played into Yabuta's decision.
Source: Sponichi 9/25/2013