NAGO, Okinawa Pref. – Outfielder Atsunori Inaba, who recently gave up on a plan to move to the major leagues after an offer never materialized, said Wednesday he has agreed to a one-year deal worth 60 million yen with the Nippon Ham Fighters.
Inaba, who declared free agency from the Yakult Swallows after playing with the Central League club for 10 seasons, had been in negotiations with a major-league team but opted to join the Fighters after the deal fell through.
The Pacific League club was the only Japanese team that showed interest in acquiring Inaba’s services after his failed attempt to ply his trade overseas.
“I feel some disappointment that I wasn’t able to get a deal with a major-league team but it’s water under the bridge now. I just want to concentrate on winning the championship,” Inaba said.
Nippon Ham general manager Shigeru Takada said he looks forward to Inaba adding power to the lineup and hopes the 32-year-old will act as an example to the younger members of the team.
“I’ll give my all to pull the team along,” Inaba added at the press conference in Nago, Okinawa Prefecture, where the team is holding its spring training camp.
Inaba, who joined Yakult as a third-round draft pick, hit .265 with 116 hits, 18 homers and 45 RBIs in 135 games in 2004.
Iguchi’s new gig
TUCSON, Ariz. (Kyodo) Tadahito Iguchi was in action Tuesday as the Chicago White Sox opened spring training for position players.
Second baseman Iguchi went through a two-hour full-squad training session.
“It ended all too soon,” Iguchi said after the workout.
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