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The Yomiuri Giants are looking to acquire Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes outfielder Tuffy Rhodes after the slugger hit a snag in negotiations for a multiyear contract with his present club, baseball sources said Saturday.

Giants owner Tsuneo Watanabe appears set on acquiring Rhodes from the Pacific League team, which has insisted on a one-year deal with conditions for an option instead of the extended contract he wishes.

“We are looking into how much (Kintetsu is offering Rhodes). This is business so of course we have to consider the amount we can offer but we are definitely interested,” said Yomiuri general manager Hideaki Miyama.

Kintetsu has told the 35-year-old Rhodes that the offering of a multiyear deal to a foreign player has never been done before.

Rhodes, who began his Japanese baseball career eight years ago with the Buffaloes, hit 51 homers this season to capture the home-run title for the third time in the PL.

Hoshino takes desk job

NISHINOMIYA, Hyogo Pref. (Kyodo) Former Hanshin Tigers manager Senichi Hoshino, who stepped down due to ill health, will be appointed a senior director in the Central League team’s front office starting next season, baseball sources said Saturday.

Hoshino, 56, will be on a one-year contract starting from Jan. 1, the sources said.

Team president Katsuyoshi Nozaki said Hoshino’s new job will entail everything aside from putting on cleats and donning the Hanshin uniform.

“He will be involved in player acquisition, giving advice at ballparks, public relations and business relations,” Nozaki said.

The team is even considering providing Hoshino with his own special room at Koshien Stadium to utilize his full talents.

“I’m not sure exactly how much I can do for the club but I will make my best efforts for baseball,” Hoshino said. “Basically I’m a free spirit so I won’t only speak out on behalf of the Tigers but for all of baseball.”

Hoshino, who was hired in the 2001 off-season, led the Tigers to fourth place in 2002 and their first Central League championship in 18 years this season.

Hoshino suffered from high blood pressure and stomach problems this season and he decided to step down as manager after the recently concluded Japan Series.

Former Hanshin coach Akinobu Okada has taken over as the new manager of the Tigers.

Valentine arrives

The Associated Press Former New York Mets manager Bobby Valentine arrived in Tokyo on Saturday where he is expected to hold contract talks with the Chiba Lotte Marines.

“I like many of the (Lotte) players,” Valentine said after arriving at Narita Airport. “I feel very good about coming back to see some of those players.”

When asked by reporters if had decided to come back and manage in Japan, Valentine said: “That decision hasn’t been made yet but it could be made very soon.”

On Friday, Lotte’s deputy owner Akio Shigemitsu said he would like to reach a deal with Valentine as early as Sunday, according to Kyodo News Service.

Valentine guided the Marines to a second-place finish in 1995, the team’s best finish since 1985.

The 53-year-old Valentine, who has also been mentioned as a possible candidate to replace Grady Little as manager of the Boston Red Sox, spent this season as a baseball analyst with ESPN, following his dismissal by the Mets last year.

He managed in New York from 1996-2002 — leading the Mets to the 2000 World Series. He also managed the Texas Rangers from 1985-92.

Mets eye Iguchi: report

NEW YORK (Kyodo) The New York Mets could be interested in Fukuoka Daiei Hawks infielder Tadahito Iguchi as a candidate for second baseman, a New York daily reported Friday.

The New York Daily News reported on its Web site that the Mets may make a bid for Iguchi as the 28-year-old would provide a second option for the Queens-based team in a sparse second baseman free-agent market.

Iguchi, who batted .340 with 27 home runs and 109 RBIs to help lead the Hawks to the Pacific League championship this season, has set his sights on entering the major leagues via the so-called posting system.

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