• Kyodo News


Yomiuri Giants infielder Tomohiro Nioka will be sent to the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters in a trade for closer Micheal Nakamura, baseball sources said Friday.

An agreement between the two clubs has been reached to send Nioka, 32, and left-hander Masanori Hayashi, 25, to Nippon Ham, while Yomiuri will acquire the services of Nakamura, 32, and outfielder Takahito Kudo, 27.

The Fighters are in the market for a power-hitting right-hander and left-handed middle reliever, while Yomiuri is hoping to add depth to its bullpen.

Nioka struggled this season due to injury and saw his regular position at shortstop taken over by 19-year-old Hayato Sakamoto as he was limited to just 31 games. In 2007, he played a key role for the Giants, batting .295 with 20 homers in 139 games.

Nakamura has 102 saves over four years in Japanese baseball. He set a new Pacific League record with 39 saves en route to helping lead the Fighters to the Japan Series title in 2006.

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