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Koji Uehara is suffering from a strained right hamstring and has been told by doctors to refrain from pitching for a week, the Yomiuri Giants right-hander said on his official Web site Friday.

Uehara, who is expected to start on Opening Day for the sixth straight season in the home game against the Hiroshima Carp on April 1, skipped his scheduled start in a preseason game against the Chunichi Dragons in Shizuoka Prefecture on Friday.

“I felt a sharp pain in the lower half of my body during a bullpen session Wednesday,” said Uehara.

“I received treatment at a hospital and was told not to throw for a week. Fortunately, it’s not bad enough that I have to give up pitching in the season opener. I still hope I get to pitch in a preseason game but if I don’t, I might just have to go out and do it on the big day,” he said.

Taiwanese southpaw Chen Wei-yin pitched three perfect innings of relief and Alex Ochoa had two of his team’s eight hits in the Dragons’ 5-3 victory over Yomiuri in Friday’s game.

In other news, the Lotte Marines have agreed on a business tie-up with the newly formed Beijing China Hope Stars of the Chinese Baseball League, the Pacific League club said Friday.

The Lotte Marines, the Lotte Giants of the Korean Baseball Organization and the Beijing China Hope Stars will sign the three-way deal in Beijing on Wednesday.

The deal is expected to spread the sport in Asia and promote baseball in China.

Yabu looking good

PHOENIX (Kyodo) Keiichi Yabu pitched three innings for his longest outing this spring and didn’t allow an earned run in the Oakland A’s 6-4 loss Thursday to Greg Maddux and the Cubs.

Yabu, who signed a one-year deal with Oakland in January, held the opposition to two hits from the sixth to eighth innings while striking out two, and limited the damage to an unearned run on a throwing error by the third baseman.

In Peoria, Ariz., Akinori Otsuka worked a scoreless inning of relief in the San Diego Padres’ 16-7 victory over the Colorado Rockies. It was the second time he pitched in a game since complaining of back pain.

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