Disgruntled veteran slugger Kazuhiro Kiyohara said Tuesday he has reached middle ground with the Yomiuri Giants and will play for the Central League club next season, the final year of his four-year deal.
The accord was reached when Kiyohara met with Yomiuri representative Hidetoshi Kiyotake earlier Tuesday, nearly a month after the 37-year-old indicated the possibility of leaving the team unless he is guaranteed a regular spot at first base next season.
“I’m going to be able to play for the Giants again next season and I’m grateful for the opportunity,” Kiyohara said.
“I’m eager to win the championship no matter what next season and see the best results of my 20-year career. Now I know exactly where I stand.”
Kiyotake said Kiyohara reaffirmed his strong desire to start from scratch, promised to be supportive of manager Tsuneo Horiuchi and agreed to apologize for causing a media frenzy by expressing his distrust of the manager and hinting at leaving the team.
Petagine not in plans
Venezuelan slugger Roberto Petagine will leave the Yomiuri Giants after both sides failed to narrow differences over a new contract, club officials said Tuesday.
Yomiuri has dropped Petagine from the list of players the club intends to sign for next season after the 33-year-old infielder refused to accept a substantial pay cut.
Petagine has reportedly been offered a deal worth about half of what he made this past season, an estimated $6 million, following the expiration of his two-year deal.
This year, Petagine was limited to 117 games because of discomfort in his left knee, which he had surgery on last offseason, and was nowhere near the form that earned him the Central League home-run titles in 1999 and 2001 with Yakult.
He batted .290 with 29 homers for his worst record in six seasons in Japanese baseball, in which he has a career average of .317 with 223 homers and 594 RBIs.
In other news, free agent and utility infielder Toshihisa Nishi, who has apparently drawn interest from the Pittsburgh Pirates, put on hold a two-year contract offered by the Giants in their talks Tuesday.
The 33-year-old Nishi told the Tokyo-based Central League team that it is difficult for him to respond immediately whether he will return for a 10th season as he hopes to find himself among the players on the checklist of teams at the Dec. 10-13 Major League Baseball winter meetings.
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