OSAKA — Norihiro Nakamura signed a free-agent deal with the Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes on Wednesday, becoming the highest-paid Japanese baseball player with an estimated annual salary of 500 million yen for 2003 plus incentives.

Kintetsu and Nakamura, who opted to remain with Kintetsu last month after a last-minute about-face from his decision to join the New York Mets, are believed to have reached a basic agreement on a six-year deal worth more than 3 billion yen.

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