• Kyodo


The Hanshin Tigers have signed outfielder Shane Spencer to a single-year contract worth 60 million yen, officials of the Central League team said Thursday.

News photoKimiyasu Kudo

The 32-year-old Spencer, who hit .262 with 59 homers and 242 RBIs in his seven-year major league career, has playing experience with the New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians and Texas Rangers.

He played for the New York Mets this year, but was released midseason after he was charged with drinking under the influence of alcohol in Florida in July.

No change for Saito

FUKUOKA (Kyodo) Daiei Hawks right-hander Kazumi Saito agreed Thursday to an unchanged annual salary of 150 million yen, plus an option for performance-related incentives, club sources said.

Saito, 27, posted a 10-7 record with a 6.26 ERA this past season but came wide of his impressive mark of 20-3 when he won the Sawamura Award in 2003.

Despite the slip in performance, the Pacific League team apparently valued Saito’s services enough as one of its core pitchers in the rotation not to reduce his salary.

“This past season, I was able to get double digits with the help of my teammates,” said Saito, whose contract last year did not include an option from incentives. “Next season, I’d like to win as many games as possible on my own merit,” he added.

Kudo rewarded

Yomiuri Giants southpaw and 23-year veteran Kimiyasu Kudo received a 10 million yen pay raise Wednesday and re-signed with the Central League club for 290 million yen.

The 41-year-old, who in August became the 23rd pitcher in Japanese baseball history to post his 200th career win, also received a 30 million yen signing bonus for choosing to stay with the team instead of declaring free agency.

He went 10-7 with a 4.67 ERA in 23 games in the 2004 season.

“I hope to improve on my stats and help the team win the championship next season,” said Kudo, who joined the Giants in 2000 after stints with the Seibu Lions and Daiei Hawks.

Also, teammate Yukinaga Maeda re-signed for an unchanged salary of 110 million yen after making 44 mound appearances this year.

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