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The Japan Series champion Chiba Lotte Marines will start their title defense in 2011 against the Senichi Hoshino-led Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, the Pacific League announced Thursday.

The PL and the Central League will open the new season together on March 25.

Rakuten, under new manager Hoshino, will play its season opener at home for the first time in the club’s seven-year existence.

Also on Opening Day, the PL champion Fukuoka Softbank Hawks will host the Orix Buffaloes, while the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters will face the Seibu Lions at Sapporo Dome.

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