• Kyodo


The Chunichi Dragons revealed Thursday the San Diego Padres earned the negotiation rights to right-hander Akinori Otsuka for $300,000 (approximately 32 million yen) under the posting system.

News photoNew York Yankee Hideki Matsui wolfs down a hot dog while watching the New York Knicks take on the Los Angeles Lakers at Madison Square Garden.

The baseball commissioner’s office notified the Dragons about the name of the major league team, which was left unspecified a day earlier when Otsuka received news he drew a bid in his second try.

The 31-year-old was put up for auction last off-season but had failed to draw a bid from the major leagues.

The Padres have 30 days to negotiate a deal with Otsuka, who has made public his strong desire to play in North America, and should the two sides strike a deal, he will become the third Japanese player to make the move to the majors under the posting system after Ichiro Suzuki and Kazuhisa Ishii.

The Padres of the National League are based in California and have finished in the bottom of the West Division for the second straight year this past season. They have yet to win a World Series title.

Takatsu meets Yanks

NEW YORK (Kyodo) Free-agent right-hander Shingo Takatsu, who is interested in pitching for a major league team, made a quick one-night trip to New York with his agent Joe Urbon and met with New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman on Wednesday.

Takatsu also bumped into Yankees manager Joe Torre and outfielder Hideki Matsui at Yankee Stadium and had a tour of the ballpark after Matsui recommended that the Japanese career saves leader should see what he saw and feel what he felt on his first visit to the historic stadium.

“It was old, but I could feel the history and there was something there that doesn’t exist in a Japanese ballpark,” Takatsu said. “Coming to a place like this really motivates me.”

Urbon, who represents the 34-year-old, said he contacted 15 major league teams and received positive responses from five, including the Yankees and the San Diego Padres. Cashman refused to comment.

Takatsu, a third-round draft pick for the Yakult Swallows in 1991, put on hold a single-year, 270 million yen deal presented by the Swallows at the end of last month, saying at the time he filed for free agency to find out what other clubs had to offer.

He picked up 34 saves this past season en route to a Japanese record of 260 saves. He received the most valuable reliever award for the first time in two years and fourth time overall.

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