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The Fukuoka Softbank Hawks have reached an agreement to sign veteran slugger Tony Batista, baseball sources said on Thursday.

“We’ve come to terms on the basic framework and we’ll make a more formal announcement at the end of the week,” said club representative Masashi Tsunoda.

According to an Associated Press report, Batista will get $15 million (1.58 billion yen) over two years, including a $5 million signing bonus. He met with club officials in Miami on Tuesday to finalize the deal.

Batista, 31, hit 32 homers and had 110 RBIs for the Montreal Expos last season. He has a career .251 average with 214 major league home runs.

Several teams, including the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and the Houston Astros, were apparently interested in acquiring the services of the Dominican, but were unable to match the Hawks’ offer.

Tsunoda also said the club was close to a deal with utility player Jolbert Cabrera, who played for the Seattle Mariners last season, and has short-listed three pitching prospects.

The Hawks were recently sold by financially troubled retailer Daiei Inc. to Internet service provider Softbank Corp.

Tigers cub works out

OSAKA (Kyodo) Kento Tsujimoto, who signed with the Hanshin Tigers in November to become the youngest pro baseball player in Japan, began independent training Wednesday as he sets his sights on making his top-team debut in the next few years.

Tsujimoto, who turns 16 on Thursday, spent nearly an hour and a half stretching, lifting weights and training on the bike at a gym in Sakai, Osaka Prefecture, while his father watched him go through his first full-blown workout since he agreed to a first-year salary of 4.4 million yen.

“I feel excited as I prepare to enter my first career year,” said Tsujimoto.

“My goal for this year is to build a body that can endure the hard training professional players go through,” he said.

Tsujimoto was the Tigers’ eighth-round pick at the amateur draft last fall. He returned to Japan in October after attending high school in California.

Marines get Pascucci

The Lotte Marines said Thursday they have acquired the contract of outfielder Val Pascucci from the Montreal Expos and signed him to a deal that will earn him a 50 million yen annual salary this year.

Pascucci, 26, hit .177 with two homers and six RBIs in 32 games for the Expos in 2004 while playing in 109 games with a .298 average and 92 RBIs for the Triple-A Edmonton.

Iguchi deal hits snag

Japanese infielder Tadahito Iguchi, who has drawn interest from several major league clubs, and the Chicago White Sox have hit a snag in their negotiations, sources close to him said Thursday.

Both sides have failed to narrow the differences over financial terms after the White Sox offered a two-year, $4 million (about 420 million yen) deal and demanded an early response.

A person familiar with the talks indicated that Iguchi’s side hopes for a deal that at least matches his contract with the Daiei Hawks carrying an annual salary of 240 million yen for 2004.

“The White Sox say they can’t wait any more but we can’t give them an answer for the offer that we’ve got,” he said.

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