The Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles won the right to negotiate a deal with Tohoku Fukushi University left-hander Shingo Matsuzaki in the first round of picks at the baseball amateur draft on Friday. Rakuten is the only team allowed to select a player in the first round after the 11 others earlier applied for player acquisitions via so-called “kibo-waku” arrangements and were excluded from the opening round of the main draft under a complicated system. The Sendai-based Eagles turned to Matsuzaki, a 22-year-old local collegiate league star, in a bid to reinforce their pitching staff after finishing bottom of the Pacific League in their inaugural season this year. Prior to Friday’s draft held for collegiate and corporate league players, the Central League champion Hanshin Tigers acquired Kansai University fastballer Minoru Iwata in a “kibo-waku” arrangement. The Softbank Hawks chose Asia University slugger Nobuhiro Matsuda using the system, while the Yomiuri Giants selected right-hander Satoshi Fukuda of Tohoku Fukushi University, last year’s national collegiate championship MVP. The Chunichi Dragons picked right-hander Kazuki Yoshimi of the Toyota Motor team, and the Seibu Lions named lefty Hironori Matsunaga of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Nagasaki. (Kyodo News)
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