• Kyodo

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Right-hander Masato Yoshii, one of two major league returnees playing for the BlueWave this season, will start the 2003 season opener, Orix manager Hiromichi Ishige announced on Wednesday.

Yoshii, who was released by the Montreal Expos after five seasons in the major leagues, will make his first mound appearance in Japan in six years when Orix takes on the Kintetsu Buffaloes at Osaka Dome on Friday.

Meanwhile, teammate Mac Suzuki was removed from the final roster after failing to make up for his past two shaky preseason outings with the top team as the former Kansas City Royals right-hander allowed seven runs and 14 hits, including a grand slam, over eight innings in a minor league game Wednesday.

“I’ve decided on Yoshii for Opening Day. As for Mac, he’s lacking the skills and will need to start from the basics with the farm team,” Ishige said.

Swallows ink Beverlin

The Associated Press

The Yakult Swallows of Japan’s Central League signed former Cleveland Indians right-hander Jason Beverlin on Wednesday.

The 29-year-old Beverlin agreed to a one-year, $350,000 contract with the Swallows and is expected to join the team in early April.

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