Kataoka planning to join Giants


Second baseman Yasuyuki Kataoka announced Sunday that he will join the Yomiuri Giants.

The 30-year-old right-handed hitter, who opted for domestic free agency this autumn, leaves the Seibu Lions, for whom he batted .271 and stole 271 bases in his nine-year career. Kataoka led the Pacific League in stolen bases each season from 2007 to 2010.

“What made up my mind was the high regard they showed me, and that they asked me to play second base,” said Kataoka, who met with the Giants on Wednesday and was told he would be given the No. 8 manager Tatsunori Hara formerly wore.

Kataoka has been injury plagued the past three years and was also sidelined three months this season. However, he played well when healthy this year, posting a .290 batting average and stealing nine bases in 10 attempts.