• Kyodo


The Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters announced Wednesday they have signed a one-year contract with pitcher Justin Hancock for an estimated ¥70 million (about $620,000).

Hancock threw 12.1 innings of relief for the Chicago Cubs this past season, getting 11 strikeouts with a 1.46 ERA. The 28-year-old right-hander has a fastball that tops out at 158 kph (98 mph).

Fighters manager Hideki Kuriyama said he sees Hancock as a player who can resolve some of the issues the Pacific League club’s bullpen had in the second half of last season.

On Tuesday, the Fighters announced they reached an agreement with former Orix Buffaloes ace Chihiro Kaneko in an attempt to bolster their pitching staff.

The team is still negotiating a contract renewal with free agent righty Nick Martinez, who went 10-11 in his first season in Japan.

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