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Newly wed Yoshitomo Tani received a 70 million yen salary boost in re-signing with the Orix BlueWave for an eighth season and will be making a maximum 310 million yen next year, baseball officials said Wednesday.

News photoYoshitomo Tani smiles at a news conference in Kobe after receiving a 700 million yen raise in salary for the 2004 season. The outfielder batted .350 in 2003 and led the Pacific League with 189 hits.

Tani, who recently got married to six-time world champion judoka Ryoko Tamura in Paris, inked a contract carrying 40 million yen in performance-related incentives and can receive a bonus for clearing the “Triple Three” — .300 average, 30 homers and 30 stolen bases.

“There has never been a better season (than this year) and I was able to feel how much I’ve come on. I’m sure my wife will be glad,” said the 30-year-old.

Despite his team finishing last in the Pacific League standings for the second year in a row, Tani led the league with 189 hits and batted .350 with 21 homers and 92 RBIs — all career highs — and was named to the national team for the Asian Championships in November.

Wakamatsu ailing

Yakult Swallows manager Tsutomu Wakamatsu was hospitalized on Wednesday and is set to receive surgery for a hernia in his lower back, officials of the Central League club said.

The 56-year-old Wakamatsu, who has been at the helm of the Swallows since 1999, will have surgery at a Tokyo hospital on Thursday and will remain there for about a week, but according to chief trainer Saburo Horiuchi will be back in shape by spring training.

Carp signs Bale

HIROSHIMA (Kyodo) The Hiroshima Carp on Wednesday announced the acquisition of former Cincinnati Reds southpaw John Bale on a single-year deal carrying a $400,000 annual salary in addition to performance-based incentives.

The 29-year-old Bale went 1-2 with an ERA of 4.47 in 10 games with the Reds this past season and has a 2-2 record with a 4.69 ERA in 27 games in his major league career.

Lee heads home

South Korean slugger Lee Seung Yeop, who was introduced by Lotte Marines officials at a news conference in Japan on Tuesday, flew home on Wednesday after signing a two-year, 500 million yen deal.

The 27-year-old infielder received videotapes of big name pitchers from the Pacific League, including Daisuke Matsuzaka of the Seibu Lions and Tsuyoshi Wada of the Daiei Hawks, which he had asked team officials to prepare.

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