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Seibu Lions manager Haruki Ihara said Wednesday he prefers to rest injured right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka during the All-Star break and make him return to the mound in late July.

“He hasn’t thrown in a month. It would be terrible if he pitches (in an All-Star game) and aggravates his injury. It’s very doubtful,” Ihara said when asked about chances of Matsuzaka’s appearance in the July 12-13 All-Star series.

Matsuzaka currently leads the Pacific League starters in fan balloting for the games at Tokyo Dome and Matsuyama stadium, Ehime Prefecture.

“He needs about 20 days in preparation for his next outing for the top team. Ideally, he should be back for the game against the Kintetsu Buffaloes on July 20,” Ihara said.

Carp signs Mateo

NAGOYA (Kyodo) The Hiroshima Carp announced Thursday the acquisition of right-hander Natanael Mateo of the Dominican Republic, who is a product of the club’s baseball academy in the Caribbean island nation.

Mateo, who practiced at the academy last fall and this spring, signed a contract for 4.4 million yen.

Mateo becomes the second right-hander from the Carp’s baseball academy to be signed by Hiroshima in little over a month. On May 18, the Carp concluded a contract with Ramon Ramirez, another 20-year-old right-hander.

Kida wants to return

Former Detroit Tigers right-hander Masao Kida said Wednesday he plans to try out for the major leagues again next year.

“I want to take the mound in the majors once again. I’ll give it a try again next year,” Kida, who failed in a Chicago Cubs tryout in February, said during a recording for a radio program.

Kida, formerly with the Yomiuri Giants and the Orix BlueWave, pitched for the Detroit Tigers mostly as a reliever in a disappointing stint for one-plus seasons in 1999 and 2000.

Kida rejoined Orix during the 2000 season but was released after last season. He had surgery on his lower back prior to his challenge for the majors this spring.

After his failure to start the season in the majors, Kida received an offer for a minor league contract from the Philadelphia Phillies but continued to look for a career in the big leagues.

However, he was forced to return to Japan in mid-April after re-injuring his lower back. At the time, he was in the midst of negotiations with the Arizona Diamondbacks and some other clubs.

On Wednesday, Kida said he has resumed training in Japan and is considering participating in the winter leagues before launching a renewed bid for the major leagues.

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