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Buffaloes sign Blanco, Bullington

Kyodo

The Orix Buffaloes have signed slugger Tony Blanco and Bryan Bullington, who were released from the Yokohama BayStars and Hiroshima Carp, respectively.

First baseman Blanco, 34, figures to make an estimated ¥500 million over two years, while right-hander Bullington, 34, has agreed to a single-year deal for an annual salary of ¥150 million.

Alessandro Maestri will return for his fourth year with Orix after agreeing to a contract of ¥30 million. Esteban German and Brandon Dickson, both of whom will be in the final year of their two-year contracts next season, also had their contracts extended.

For Orix, the lone question mark in terms of player reorganization remains free agent right-hander Chihiro Kaneko, who for the time being has abandoned plans to play in the major leagues but could still play for another domestic club.

“We want to put Blanco in the cleanup spot and have him drive in a lot of runs for us. We want Bullington to become the pillar of the rotation,” said Ryuzo Setoyama, head of team operations. “Our reinforcements are coming along as we imagined. If we can get Kaneko to remain, we’ll have everything we want.”