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The Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters’ bid for a league championship took a hit on Tuesday, when closer Chris Martin was deactivated due to an ankle sprain.

The 203-cm right-hander, who became the team’s closer on June 19 and was named to the Pacific League All-Star team, suffered a left ankle sprain in Sunday’s 7-7, rain-hit tie against Orix in Kobe. The injury is expected to sideline him for about four weeks.

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