• Kyodo


The Orix BlueWave and former Kansas City Royals right-hander Makoto “Mac” Suzuki have reached a deal that would let him take the mound in the Japanese professional leagues.

News photoMakoto “Mac” Suzuki

Details of the deal were not immediately known but sources close to the negotiations hinted that both sides have agreed to a one-year contract for Suzuki carrying a 100 million yen signing bonus and a 15 million yen annual salary plus incentives of up to 50 million yen.

The figures are the maximum amounts allowed for rookies in Japanese baseball but Orix officials earlier said the club treats Suzuki like a foreign player.

“I’m relieved to reach this agreement and it’s a pleasure to play as a member of Orix, the club in my hometown (Hyogo Prefecture), and I’m looking forward to it very much,” Suzuki said through an Orix spokesman.

In the Nov. 20 baseball draft, Orix named Suzuki in the second round to obtain the right to negotiate with the 27-year-old — the only Japanese who has played in the major leagues without a professional career in Japan.

Suzuki quit a Hyogo high school and made his major-league debut in 1996 for the Seattle Mariners. He has a 16-31 record in his stints with the Mariners, Colorado Rockies, Milwaukee Brewers and Kansas City. He was 0-2 in just seven games in 2002 for the Royals.

Hawks scoop Chen

FUKUOKA (Kyodo) The Daiei Hawks have reached an agreement to acquire Taiwanese outfielder Chen Wen-bin, officials of the Pacific League club said Friday.

Chen, who is known as a power hitter in the Taiwan League, batted .290 with 26 home runs and 61 RBIs in 2002 for the China Trust Whales.

The 29-year-old joined Daiei’s fall training camp in Kochi Prefecture last month and passed a tryout.

BayStars chase Saito

YOKOHAMA (Kyodo) The Yokohama BayStars renewed their call Friday for free-agent right-hander Takashi Saito to return to the Central League club next season.

Hiroshi Sasagawa, chief of Yokohama’s team operations, made yet another request in talks with agent Shigeyuki Mito that Saito play for the BayStars for a 12th season.

“We don’t have a cutoff point and we’re still just waiting for a reply,” Sasagawa said, adding that a resolution by the end of the year was unlikely.

Saito has reportedly drawn interest from three major-league clubs, including the Los Angles Dodgers.

In other news:

Yomiuri Giants southpaw Hisanori Takahashi agreed to an 82 million yen annual salary for next season Friday in his third round of talks with the Japan Series champions.

Takahashi, who went 10-4 with a 3.09 ERA in 24 games, had held out hoping to double his salary to 100 million yen but settled for the deal that saw a 2 million yen increase from the offer made in the first round of negotiations.

“I didn’t want to be fussing when the new year comes around, and one of us had to give in,” said Takahashi, the last Yomiuri player to complete the signing of a deal for the 2003 season.

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