• Kyodo

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Free agent lefty Tsuyoshi Shimoyanagi has narrowed down his choice for a domestic club to the Hanshin Tigers, baseball sources said Monday.

Shimoyanagi, 35, was offered multiyear contracts by both the Tigers and the Yokohama BayStars but said his heart was with the Tigers, who he helped guide to their first Central League championship in 18 years.

He said he still needs time to see whether any offers are forthcoming from any major league teams.

Elsewhere, Orix BlueWave infielder Takeshi Yamasaki, who concludes a three-year contract in 2004, will return to the Pacific League club for an annual salary of 120 million yen plus performance-related bonuses.

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