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A’s snap up free agent Iwamura

NEW YORK (Kyodo) Akinori Iwamura will sign with the Oakland Athletics for the remainder of the season, the free agent infielder said Sunday.

Iwamura, who was cut loose by the Pittsburgh Pirates last week, was to join up with the team in time for Oakland’s game against the Kansas City Royals on Monday, putting him in the same division as Japanese superstars Ichiro Suzuki of the Seattle Mariners and the Los Angeles Angels’ Hideki Matsui.

The Athletics are trying to fill the gap left open by third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff, who is out with a lower back injury.

The 31-year-old Iwamura has played third as well as second base during his four seasons in the majors, and his high on-base percentage (OBP) is believed to be an attractive point for Oakland general manager Billy Beane.

Iwamura has batted .270 with an OBP of .347 during his big-league career.