• Kyodo

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Tsuyoshi Shinjo, who was released by the San Francisco Giants, is apparently being courted to rejoin the New York Mets, a New York Times report said Friday.

Shinjo, who was traded to the Giants from the Mets in a multi-player deal after his first year in the majors, has been offered a deal of one year or one year plus an option with a salary between $500,000 (60 million yen) and $600,000 (72 million yen), the daily said.

Shinjo, if he decides to return to Shea Stadium, would become the team’s fifth outfielder but will be earning considerably less than the $1.3 million he got from the Giants last season.

“If the Mets succeed in trading (Roger) Cedeno or (Jeromy) Burnitz, Shinjo could be the starting center fielder,” it said suggesting the two outfielders could be on their way out.

The report also said Shinjo has told agents Gene Casaleggio and Mike Nicotera of his wishes to return to the Mets where he played an instrumental role on defense.

Newsday, another daily, quoted agent Casaleggio as saying that “I don’t really think they needed to sell us on what his role would be. This just had a lot to do with the baseball opportunity,” adding that he and Shinjo, who is in Tokyo, were communicating via e-mail to finish ironing out the deal on Friday.

Shinjo batted .268 with 10 home runs and 56 RBIs in 400 at-bats with the Mets but was traded to the Giants with infielder Desi Relaford for pitcher Shawn Estes during the off-season.

Last season, Shinjo batted .238 with nine homers and 37 RBIs with the Giants, who relegated him to a defensive replacement after acquiring Kenny Lofton. He was put on waivers on Nov. 16.

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