The Yomiuri Giants have acquired infielder Makoto Kosaka from the Chiba Lotte Marines in a cash trade, the Central League club said Wednesday.

Kosaka, 32, will earn 110 million yen in annual salary next year under a one-year deal with Yomiuri after helping the Marines win their first Pacific League and Japan Series titles in 31 years.

Lotte’s front-office officials decided to deal him at a time when the development of young talent in the infield like Toshiaki Imae and Tsuyoshi Nishioka has increasingly reduced the four-time Golden Glove winner’s playing time.

“Three teams had asked us to trade him this year, and I believe the latest move will be a plus for his future career,” Lotte representative Ryuzo Setoyama said.

Kosaka, who also won the Pacific League’s Rookie of the Year honor in 1997 and stolen-base title twice, hit .283 with four homers, 31 RBIs and 26 stolen bases in 118 games.

Sikorski leaves

The Rakuten Eagles said Wednesday they have terminated the contract of Brian Sikorski and released the former Yomiuri Giants right-hander only a month after acquiring his services.

Rakuten claimed Sikorski off waivers last month after the 31-year-old was released by Yomiuri. Club officials said he hopes to play for a major league team and Rakuten allowed him to leave on condition that he will not sign for a Japanese team.

Sikorski set a club record with Yomiuri by pitching in 70 games as a reliever this year and posted a 7-1 record with a 3.29 ERA. But the 31-year-old was left out of manager Tatsunori Hara’s plans and put on waivers Nov. 7.

LaRocca signs

The Yakult Swallows announced Wednesday the acquisition of infielder Greg LaRocca, who was released by the Hiroshima Carp earlier in the offseason.

Yakult and LaRocca, 33, have agreed on a deal that will earn him $750,000 with a performance bonus next year. Larocca hit .303 and 18 homers in 80 games in his second season with Hiroshima this year.

Fighters want Ishii

SAPPORO (Kyodo) The Nippon Ham Fighters will join the Yakult Swallows in the hunt for left-hander Kazuhisa Ishii, officials of the Pacific League club said Wednesday.

Nippon Ham hopes an addition of Ishii would bolster its weak bullpen and is ready to make an offer that is more attractive than those by any other teams seeking his services.

On Monday, Yakult president Yoshikazu Tagiku said the Central League club is ready to launch a bid for Ishii, who was cut by the New York Mets last month and is looking for a deal with a team either in the major leagues or Japan.

The 32-year-old has a 39-34 career record with a 4.44 ERA in four years in the major leagues, three with the Los Angeles Dodgers and one with the Mets.

Orix adds slugger

OSAKA (Kyodo) Slugger Norihiro Nakamura, who played in the U.S. minor leagues for much of this year, said Wednesday he has decided to return to Japanese baseball and agreed on a one-year deal with the Orix Buffaloes.

Nakamura accepted an offer Orix made earlier this month and is expected to occupy a spot in the heart of the lineup along with Kazuhiro Kiyohara, who announced his decision to join the Kobe-based Pacific League team on Tuesday.

Nakamura, 32, will earn an estimated annual salary of 200 million yen with a performance bonus and wear the uniform number 8.

Sugiuchi gets raise

FUKUOKA (Kyodo) Softbank Hawks southpaw Toshiya Sugiuchi, winner of the Sawamura Award for his outstanding pitching this year, received a hefty salary increase Wednesday when he agreed on a new one-year contract with the Pacific League club.

The deal will earn Sugiuchi 150 million yen in annual salary for 2006, a nearly four-fold jump from this year, after the 25-year-old led the Pacific League with 18 wins and a 2.11 earned run average.

Elsewhere, Hanshin Tigers reliever Kyuji Fujikawa finally signed a new deal after several rounds of inconclusive talks when he won a 58 million yen raise and will earn 80 million yen next year.

Fujikawa pitched in 80 games, a single-season Japanese baseball record, and went 7-1 with one save and a 1.36 ERA to help the Tigers win the Central League championship. But he refused to sign earlier offers saying his efforts were undervalued.

The Hiroshima Carp signed veteran outfielder Tomonori Maeda to a new contract carrying an annual salary of 188 million yen, up 33 million yen.

Maeda played in all regular-season games for the first time in 12 years and had team-highs of 172 hits and a .319 average along with a career-high 32 homers.

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