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Former Fukuoka Softbank Hawks manager Sadaharu Oh, who currently serves as an adviser to Nippon Professional Baseball commissioner Ryozo Kato, was appointed on Thursday as a special ambassador for Japanese baseball.

The 68-year-old Oh paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Taro Aso the same day after accepting a government request to take the post from Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone.

“Making exchanges with other countries through baseball will also benefit Japan diplomatically,” Nakasone said before formally delegating the task to Oh.

“I have a specific title but I am not thinking about doing anything special,” said Oh. “I will just continue to do my best for young people through baseball.”

Oh left his post as manager of the Hawks for health reasons in October last year and was given the commissioner’s advisory role the same month.

The all-time Japanese home run king underwent a successful operation to remove his stomach after being diagnosed with stomach cancer four months after guiding Japan to the inaugural WBC title in March 2006.

Marines sign Muniz

Kyodo News

The Chiba Lotte Marines said on Friday they have signed Cuban outfielder Juan Muniz as a non-roster player.

The 33-year-old Muniz was registered in the minor leagues until 2006 with the Florida Marlins. He was named to the Brazilian national team in 2007 and 2008.

Last year, Muniz got three hits off hardly regarded pitcher Junichi Tazawa, who has signed with the Boston Red Sox after pitching for Nippon Oil, in a training camp in Brazil.

Muniz will join Lotte’s farm team from Saturday and have until the end of July to attempt to make the 70-man roster.

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