FUKUOKA (Kyodo) Fukuoka Softbank Hawks outfielder Hiroshi Shibahara accepted a 48 percent pay cut by the club on Monday after baseball commissioner Ryozo Kato put on hold his arbitration request and told the two sides last week to return to the negotiating table.

The 36-year-old Shibahara signed a one-year deal worth ¥62.4 million plus performance incentives for the 2011 season.

Shibahara filed for salary arbitration last Tuesday, saying he never agreed that his salary could be reduced by more than the stipulated limit of 40 percent for a player who has earned over ¥100 million a year.

The Softbank front office argued at that time that he had agreed to endure a substantial pay cut.

“I’m relieved that the club’s offer got close to what I was looking for,” Shibahara said. “Now I have to prove what I can do on the field and help the team win the Japan Series title.”

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