Hawks’ LaHair sets high bar at introductory news conference


Bryan LaHair says he has set his sights on hitting 30 home runs this season for the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks as he was unveiled by the Pacific League club on Wednesday.

The 30-year-old LaHair told a press conference at Yahoo Dome that although his goal may seem lofty, he wants to hit 30 homers with a .300 batting average and 100 RBIs.

LaHair hit 16 homers in 130 games last season for the Chicago Cubs and is expected to compete for the Hawks’ cleanup spot. He told reporters he is prepared to produce runs in whatever position in the lineup he eventually falls.

Softbank manager Koji Akiyama said, “He is a player that has the potential to be in the cleanup position. We hope he will become a player who can pull the team forward.”

LaHair, who was named to the National League All-Star squad last summer, struggled in the second half of the 2012 season and was designated for assignment by the Cubs in November.

Hawks acquire Padilla


The Fukuoka Softbank Hawks on Wednesday announced the acquisition of free-agent pitcher Vicente Padilla.

The veteran right-hander, who went 4-1 with a 4.50 ERA in 56 relief appearances with the Boston Red Sox last season, has signed a one-year deal worth up to $3.25 million (about ¥296 million).

“He (Padilla) can pitch both (as a starter and reliever), but I think he will probably start,” said Shigeru Ishiwata, in charge of team operations.

The 35-year-old Padilla, who has a career 108-91 record with a 4.32 ERA over 14 years in the majors, was an All-Star in 2002 with the Philadelphia Phillies, when he went 14-11 with a 3.28 ERA.

He has also pitched for the Texas Rangers, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks.