• Kyodo

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The two-time defending Pacific League and Japan Series champion Fukuoka Softbank Hawks will open their 2016 season on the road in Sendai on March 25 against the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, the league said Friday.

The Eagles, who finished last the past two seasons, will be starting their first season under former Kintetsu Buffaloes and Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters manager Masataka Nashida. The two other PL games that day, when both leagues swing into action, will see the Chiba Lotte Marines host the Nippon Ham Fighters and the Seibu Lions host the Orix Buffaloes.

On June 28 and 29, Orix and Rakuten will play games at Okinawa Cellular Stadium, marking the first PL games in Okinawa since Orix’s predecessors, the Hankyu Braves, played the Daimai Orions in 1962. The 143-game schedule, which includes 18 interleague games, will see Rakuten, Lotte and Orix host one more home game than Softbank, Seibu and Nippon Ham.

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