The Orix BlueWave of the Pacific League and former Montreal Expos pitcher Masato Yoshii agreed to a one-year deal Tuesday, sealing Yoshii’s return to Japanese baseball for the first time in six years, an official said.

Right-hander Yoshii is expected to sign the contract worth $550,000 soon, Orix spokesman Eiji Onishi said.

Yoshii was put on waivers last month by the Expos after missing most of the final month of the season with a sore left shoulder. He had surgery Sept. 26 to repair a torn left labrum and fraying of the left rotator cuff.

Yoshii is currently in Tokyo training at the facilities of the Yakult Swallows — his team between 1995 and 1997, before he went to the majors.

Onishi said Orix wants to sign Yoshii as soon as possible so he can begin practicing with the team, based in Kobe.

The 37-year-old pitcher was 4-9 with a 4.11 ERA in 20 starts and 11 relief appearances last season. In two seasons with the Expos, he had a combined 8-16 record and 4.42 ERA.

Orix acquires Yamasaki

KOBE (Kyodo) The Chunichi Dragons and Orix BlueWave have agreed on a trade involving veteran slugger Takeshi Yamasaki, Orix officials said Tuesday.

Orix takes over Yamasaki’s contract as he heads into his 17th season. The 34-year-old signed a three-year free-agent deal carrying a 120 million yen annual salary with Chunichi after the 2001 season.

Orix right-hander Masa- fumi Hirai, the 1995 PL Rookie of the Year, will be dealt to Chunichi for Yamasaki.

Yamasaki joined Chunichi in 1987 as a second-round draft pick. He won the Central League home-run title in 1996.

Also Tuesday, Chunichi said catcher Fumihiro Suzuki, a member of the national team at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, will be traded to the Kintetsu Buffaloes.

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