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Event organizers of Japanese baseball said Monday they have given the green light to a request made by Major League Baseball to hold regular-season and exhibition games in Japan in March next year.

Although the teams and dates have yet to be announced, the Pacific League has asked that the games not be held any time after March 25, two days before the league’s 2004 season begins.

Swallows drop Betts

The Yakult Swallows released infielder Todd Betts, who failed to live up to the Central League team’s hopes for him as a replacement for slugger Roberto Petagine, and placed him on the waiver list along with pitcher Kevin Hodges on Monday.

Betts was deactivated from the roster Sept. 14 due to a left knee injury. He batted .287 with 15 homers and 52 RBIs in 112 games this season, while Petagine joined the Yomiuri Giants and is in contention for the league’s home run title.

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