• Kyodo


The Chiba Lotte Marines said Tuesday they have signed former major league second baseman Tadahito Iguchi to a three-year contract worth ¥180 million a year plus performance bonuses of up to ¥20 million.

Iguchi will return to Japanese baseball after playing four seasons in the major leagues, where he won the 2005 World Series with the Chicago White Sox in his rookie year.

Iguchi will don the No. 6 jersey, the number worn by former Lotte star players such as three-time Triple Crown winner Hiromitsu Ochiai and Kiyoshi Hatsushiba.

“Lotte apparently wanted me the most among teams that gave me offers. I’m honored to wear the great number,” Iguchi said.

Released by the Philadelphia Phillies at the end of last season, Iguchi received offers from several other clubs in Japan as well as in the majors.

The 34-year-old had put top priority on continuing his major league career, but decided to join Lotte, which sees him as a future candidate to manage the club.

“We’ve had good relations with Iguchi since he was playing in Japan. I’m sure manager Bobby Valentine is pleased with our latest signing,” club president Ryuzo Setoyama said. “I expect him to take a leadership role on the team.”

Iguchi batted .268 with 44 home runs and 205 RBIs in 493 games in four seasons with the White Sox, San Diego Padres and Phillies.

He is a .271 career hitter in Japan with 149 homers and 507 RBIs in eight seasons, all with the Daiei Hawks — now the Softbank Hawks. The three-time Golden Glove award winner led the Pacific League in stolen bases twice, with 44 in 2001 and 42 in 2003.

Also Tuesday, veteran right-hander Ken Kadokura has agreed to a minor league contract with the Chicago Cubs, baseball sources said.

Kadokura, who was released by the Yomiuri Giants in December, will join countrymen Kosuke Fukudome and So Taguchi in the Cubs’ spring training as a non-roster invitee, the sources said.

The 35-year-old has a 76-82 career record with 10 saves and a 4.36 ERA in 13 seasons with the Chunichi Dragons, the Kintetsu Buffaloes, the Yokohama BayStars and Yomiuri.

He made 11 relief appearances for Yomiuri last year, going 0-2 with a 3.55 ERA.

Fukudome had a disappointing rookie season with the Cubs last year, hitting .257 with 10 homers and 58 RBIs in 150 games. Taguchi was released by the Philadelphia Phillies shortly after the World Series and recently signed a minor league contract with the Cubs.

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