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The Orix Buffaloes hit their first home run of the year long before any games were played, or at least that was the common refrain.

Orix fleeced the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters before the season by sending pitcher Hiroshi Kisanuki and infielder Keiji Obiki north to Sapporo while getting All-Star outfielder Yoshio Itoi in return. The Buffaloes also acquired former Rookie of the Year pitcher Tomoya Yagi in the deal — but anything he provided was always merely going to be icing on the cake.

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