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OSAKA (Kyodo) Free agent reliever Hiroyuki Kobayashi, who was waiting for a major league contract offer from across the Pacific this offseason, is set to join the Hanshin Tigers.

Hanshin president Nobuo Minami said Wednesday that the Tigers will hold talks in an Osaka hotel on Thursday with Kobayashi, who helped the Chiba Lotte Marines win the Japan Series as their closer last year.

Looking for the main setup man for closer Kyuji Fujikawa, Hanshin has already unofficially offered the 32-year-old Kobayashi a multiyear contract, according to baseball sources.

“We’ll meet to work out details of his contract,” Minami said. “This is good news for us.”

Kobayashi had 29 saves with a 2.21 ERA for Lotte in 2010, his first season as a closer.

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