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News photoSeibu Lions pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka is all but happy after re-signing a contract for 25 billion yen less than last season. Matsuzaka agreed to a 115 million yen deal.

Lions right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka received a pay cut for the first time in his career Friday, when he re-signed with the Pacific League champions for an annual salary of 115 million yen.

Matsuzaka, 22, who led the league in the number of wins the previous three years, agreed to a 25 million yen decrease after elbow and leg injuries limited him to just 14 games with a 6-2 record in 2002.

“If I fail to live up to my price tag, it’s only natural to get a cut. Next year, I’ll try to make it up aiming for 20 wins,” said Matsuzaka, who also took the loss in Games 1 and 4 of the Japan Series against the Yomiuri Giants.

The 1999 PL Rookie of the Year got off to a strong start in the season by winning six straight decisions.

But he was removed from the active roster with an elbow injury in May and his return in August was short-lived after he suffered an injury to his right leg. That kept him off the mound until late in the regular season.

Seibu, meanwhile, signed Kazuhiro Wada to a one-year, 100 million yen contract with a 60 million yen raise after the outfielder posted career highs of .319 in batting average, 33 homers and 81 RBIs.

Veteran catcher Tsutomu Ito agreed to a 110 million yen salary, unchanged from 2002, for his 22nd year with the Lions.

In the Central League, Hiroshima Carp infielder Kenjiro Nomura accepted a 20 million yen pay cut and inked a deal carrying a 150 million yen salary.

Nomura, plagued with injuries in recent seasons, batted .211 with 11 RBIs and three homers in 85 games this past season.

New Sheets for Carp

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Kyodo) The Tampa Bay Devil Rays said Friday they have sold the contract of infielder Andy Sheets to the Hiroshima Carp.

Sheets, 31, hit .248 with four homers and 22 RBIs in 41 games this year. He is the second player to be sold to a Japanese club by Tampa Bay in the offseason following infielder Steve Cox, who agreed to terms with Yokohama BayStars earlier this month.

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