• Kyodo

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Arn Tellem, the agent of New York Yankees outfielder Hideki Matsui, said Thursday he will begin negotiations for his client on a new contract with the American League club during spring training.

Tellem said he has yet to set a date, but is planning on visiting the team’s training site in Tampa to try and strike a new deal for two-time All-Star Matsui, who will be entering the final year of a three-year, $21 million deal signed in December 2002.

Before the 2004 season, Tellem apparently told the 30-year-old Japanese player of his plan to enter contract talks before the current deal expires.

Most Yankees players discuss contract extension after their deals expire, but last March the Yankees signed Mariano Rivera, the club’s all-time saves leader, to a two-year contract extension through 2006 after his third year of a four-year contract.

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