FUKUOKA – Veteran Fukuoka Softbank Hawks slugger Nobuhiko Matsunaka accepted a 50 percent pay cut in re-signing with the club on Tuesday for ¥200 million, plus performance incentives, after an injury-plagued 2010 season.
It is the biggest pay cut ever in Japanese baseball in terms of the amount. The Yakult Swallows reduced then-playing manager Atsuya Furuta’s salary by ¥180 million — a 75 percent pay reduction — after the 2006 season.
“For a professional athlete, performance is everything. I have apologized to the team for causing trouble in this way,” Matsunaka said.
The Hawks have added free agent infielder Seiichi Uchikawa from the Yokohama BayStars and former Orix Buffaloes slugger Alex Cabrera to the lineup.
“Up until now I have just focused on getting ready for the opening of the regular season but I will have to show my strengths in spring training and in exhibition games,” Matsunaka continued.
Bothered by right knee and left wrist problems, Matsunaka batted only .235 with 11 homers and 35 RBIs in 79 games last season.
In 2011, the 37-year-old outfielder will enter the sixth season of his seven-year contract.
Also Tuesday, Hawks closer Takahiro Mahara re-signed for ¥210 million after his second meeting at the negotiation table.
The 29-year-old Mahara stands to make ¥70 million more in 2011 after posting 32 saves with a 1.63 ERA in 53 appearances, helping his team win its first Pacific League title in seven years.
“I intend to win all the games that are winnable,” Mahara said, looking ahead toward next season. “I want to help lead the team to consecutive league titles and a Japan Series championship,” he said.
McCrory joins Lotte
CHIBA (Kyodo) The Chiba Lotte Marines on Tuesday announced the acquisition of former Baltimore Orioles right-handed reliever Bob McCrory, who had a tryout with the Japan Series champions last month.
The hard-throwing 28-year-old has agreed to a one-year contract worth $200,000 and will try to bolster the bullpen, which will be without closer Hiroyuki Kobayashi next year.
In the major leagues, McCrory posted a 16.46 ERA in 13 2/3 innings pitched without a decision or save for the Orioles in 2008-09.
He went 3-4 with two saves and a 4.88 ERA in 19 appearances for Double-A Bowie this past season.