Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Giants ready to sign veteran reliever Kobayashi: sources

Kyodo News

The Yomiuri Giants plan to add depth to their bullpen by acquiring former Cleveland Indians right-hander Masahide Kobayashi, sources familiar with the matter said Friday.

Kobayashi recorded 227 saves, fourth on the all-time Japanese baseball list, over nine seasons with the Chiba Lotte Marines before joining the Indians as a free agent in 2008.

Kobayashi made 57 appearances in his major league rookie year, going 4-5 with six saves and a 4.53 ERA.

But he was sent to the minors in May 2009 after his ERA ballooned to 8.38. The 35-year-old left the Indians two months later.

Kobayashi joins a Yomiuri bullpen that already boasts Daisuke Ochi, Tetsuya Yamaguchi and closer Marc Kroon.

Kida joins Fighters

SAPPORO (Kyodo) The Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters on Friday announced the acquisition of veteran right-hander Masao Kida on a one-year, ¥10 million contract.

Kida was released by the Tokyo Yakult Swallows last month after going 3-4 with a 5.55 ERA in 30 games in 2009.

The 41-year-old has a 68-80 career record in Japan with 50 saves and a 3.87 ERA over 16 seasons with the Yomiuri Giants, Orix BlueWave and Swallows.

Kida also pitched for three major league clubs — the Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Dodgers and Seattle Mariners — between 1999 and 2005.

Also Friday, the Fighters said they have decided not to re-sign right-hander Brian Sweeney.

Sweeney won 12 games in 2008 but slumped to a 5-8 mark with a 5.32 ERA in 21 appearances this past season.

Nippon Ham, meanwhile, plans to continue talks with outfielder Terrmel Sledge, whose two-year contract has expired.

Sledge led the team with 27 homers and 88 RBIs in 2009. He hit a “sayonara” grand slam in Game 1 of the Pacific League Climax Series second stage against the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles and drove in a total of 12 runs in the postseason.