• Kyodo


The Orix Buffaloes, the Pacific League team created by the merger between the Orix BlueWave and Kintetsu Buffaloes, and ace right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma failed Wednesday to break the stalemate over his wish to be traded.

In their third round of talks, which were held at the home of club president Takashi Koizumi in Kobe, Iwakuma reiterated that he does not intend to play for Orix next season and hopes to be dealt to the newly established Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles.

“I was given two days to think things over again. Choosing one from two options will be my conclusion,” Iwakuma said, indicating he will decide whether to play for Orix or stick with his wish to be traded before his next meeting with the club scheduled for Friday.

Koizumi said Orix will continue to try to persuade him to stay.

“Today I asked him to play for us for a long time. Our club needs him,” Koizumi said.

Koizumi said he explained to Iwakuma a personal proposal made Tuesday by PL President Tadao Koike, who expressed his “strong hope” that the 23-year-old will play for Orix for one season before pursuing the possibility of being traded to another club.

Koizumi, however, stressed that Wednesday’s meeting focused on issues between Orix and Iwakuma.

Koike’s proposal, revealed at a PL executive board meeting, quickly stirred controversy as it may run afoul of Japanese baseball rules prohibiting ball clubs from promising future deals for players.

Shimizu re-signs

Outfielder Takayuki Shimizu on Wednesday signed a free-agent deal with the Yomiuri Giants which will keep him at the Central League club for a 10th season.

In a meeting with Yomiuri representative Hidetoshi Kiyotake, Shimizu agreed on a two-year contract carrying an annual salary of 180 million yen, up 15 million yen from this year, with performance incentives.

The 31-year-old demanded a three-year contract in the previous round of talks held Nov. 10 but relented after further negotiations with club officials, in which Yomiuri made a compromise offer.

Yomiuri manager Tsuneo Horiuchi plans to give Shimizu an opportunity to play first base next season after acquiring outfielder Gabe Kapler from the Boston Red Sox.

Kanemoto’s bonus

OSAKA (Kyodo) Hanshin Tigers outfielder Tomoaki Kanemoto signed a new deal on Wednesday, that will earn him 260 million yen in annual salary in 2005, unchanged from this year, while getting a 5 million yen bonus for winning the Central League RBI title.

Kanemoto, who joined Hanshin in 2003 after 11 seasons with the Hiroshima Carp, set a Japanese baseball record for consecutive full-game appearances in August, breaking the previous mark of 700 held by former Hanshin player Hideshi Miyake.

Meanwhile, free-agent outfielder Naoyuki Omura, who played for the Kintetsu Buffaloes this year, agreed on a deal with the Daiei Hawks.

Deal finalized

The Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, who will join Japanese professional baseball next season, said Wednesday they have signed provisional one-year contracts with infielder Damon Minor and left-hander Gary Rath.

Minor will earn 40 million yen in annual salary and Rath 44 million yen. Both players agreed on a signing bonus of 10 million yen.

Rakuten plans to acquire three more foreign players, including former Yakult Swallows pitcher Kevin Hodges, who is close to striking a deal with the Pacific League club based in Sendai.

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