• Kyodo

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Former Chicago Cubs southpaw Tsuyoshi Wada has returned to his professional roots, rejoining the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks on a three-year deal estimated at ¥1.2 billion, not including incentives.

Wada left the Hawks as a free agent after the 2011 season, when he went 16-5 with a 1.51 ERA and the Hawks won the Japan Series for the first time since his 2003 rookie year.

Asked his ambition at a news conference in Fukuoka, the 34-year-old said, “To perform well enough to be one of the team’s central players, having a season like 2011.

“It’s my policy that as a pro, I want to pitch where I’m wanted.”

Although he moved to the United States with the Baltimore Orioles in 2012, he only pitched in the big leagues the past two seasons for the Cubs, who released him after he went 1-1 this season with a 3.62 ERA in eight games.

Soon after Wada joined the Orioles, he was diagnosed with elbow trouble, underwent Tommy John ligament reconstruction surgery and was released after two seasons without ever pitching for the Orioles.

Wada joined the Cubs on a minor league contract and pitched in just 21 games over two seasons, going 5-5 with a 3.36 ERA.

“We want him to do well as a starting pitcher,” Hawks skipper Kimiyasu Kudo said. “But it’s not only about his pitching. He can have a huge influence on the youngsters by the way he handles himself within the game.”

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