LOS ANGELES – Norihiro Nakamura failed to make the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Opening Day roster on Saturday and the Japanese infielder is considering a move to another club with an option to return to Japanese baseball.
The Dodgers assigned Nakamura, who signed a minor-league contract on Feb. 3, to Triple-A Las Vegas after Saturday’s preseason exhibition game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Dodger Stadium.
Nakamura singled to center in his only at-bat of the game and finished spring training with a .295 average with three homers and eight RBIs in 20 games. The 31-year-old insisted that the stats should be convincing enough to make his case.
“I gave my best possible effort and I did my best to a degree where I can say there is nothing more I could have done,” said Nakamura, who joined spring training as a non-roster invitee.
“I want to talk to my agent and decide what to do next,” he said, noting he will consider playing back in Japan if he receives an offer from a Japanese team.
“If I have to go to Triple-A, I want to be there without quibbling. I’m at a loss and maybe I won’t be able to sleep tonight out of frustration,” Nakamura said.
According to a report on the Dodgers Web site, Nakamura will notify the club on Sunday whether he will accept the minor-league assignment.
Dodgers general manager Paul DePodesta and manager Jim Tracy said the decision was designed to make room for the 12th pitcher on the roster and give Nakamura opportunities to face various types of pitchers rather than being kept on the bench in the majors.
Tracy added he hopes Nakamura will keep himself prepared to play in the majors in case the Dodgers reduce their pitching staff to 11 men during the regular season.
Meanwhile, in Jupiter, Fla., New York Mets infielder Kazuo Matsui had his second straight multi-hit day, going 2-for-3 with an RBI and a stolen base in a preseason exhibition game against Florida.
Bonds on 15-day DL
NEW YORK (AP) The San Francisco Giants placed Barry Bonds on the 15-day disabled list Saturday as they finalized their roster for Opening Day, the third time the slugger has been on the DL in his career.
The move was retroactive to March 25. Bonds, who will begin his 20th major-league season, is recovering from two operations on his right knee in a seven-week span, the latest on March 17.
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