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The Orix Buffaloes said Monday they have rehired veteran right-hander Masato Yoshii, just months after releasing the former major-league player.

The 39-year-old Yoshii passed a tryout held at Orix’s spring training camp in Okinawa and will play under manager Akira Ogi, his mentor at the Kintetsu Buffaloes.

“I am grateful to the club for giving a player who has not been doing it for the last two years a chance,” said a relieved looking Yoshii, who signed for 5 million yen plus performance related incentives.

Yoshii played for now-defunct Kintetsu from 1985 to 1994 before playing for the Yakult Swallows for three years. He moved to the major leagues after the 1997 season and went 32-47 in his stints with the New York Mets, Colorado Rockies and Montreal Expos.

He joined the Orix BlueWave in 2003 but was limited to two wins against eight losses in 27 games in two seasons.

Igawa re-signs

OSAKA (Kyodo) Hanshin Tigers left-hander Kei Igawa on Monday signed a new contract with the Central League club after giving up on a move to the major leagues this season.

Igawa, who had been hoping to move to the majors via the posting system, signed for an estimated 230 million yen — 20 million yen up from last year.

“I am satisfied with this arrangement. I’ve made my intentions clear and now I will try and make sure I get the job done this year,” said Igawa.

Though he has given up on the majors this time, Igawa’s desire to play there before he becomes a free agent in 2009 has not changed. He hinted that he has reached an “agreement” with Hanshin on a move to MLB next year.

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