Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Taiwanese slugger Wang Po-jung accepts three-year deal from Fighters

Kyodo

The Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters said Friday they have reached a deal to acquire hard-hitting outfielder Wang Po-jung from the Lamigo Monkeys of the Taiwanese professional league.

The 25-year-old Taiwanese, who had a .407 batting average this past season, will receive an estimated ¥400 million (about $3.54 million) plus incentives in a three-year deal.

After earning negotiating rights from Chinese Professional Baseball League champion Lamigo, the Fighters had 30 days to reach an agreement with Wang, who made his professional debut in 2015.

“He is revered in Taiwan. I hope he makes his dreams come true in Japan,” Fighters manager Hideki Kuriyama said. “He will raise the level of our outfielders.”

In his second year with Lamigo in 2016, he had 200 hits with a .414 batting average. He had 31 home runs and 101 RBIs the next season.

In othe NPB news, the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles on Friday announced that they have American outfielder Jabari Blash to a one-year contract for an estimated ¥120 million (about $1.06 million).

Blash, who can also play first base, debuted with the San Diego Padres in 2016 and played for the Los Angeles Angels this past season. He has a .186 batting average in 274 MLB at-bats, with eight home runs, 22 RBIs and 51 hits.

In a statement issued by the Pacific League club, Blash said his goal is to power the team into the Japan Series.

Eagles general manager Kazuhisa Ishii said he expects to utilize the 29-year-old, known for his power, as a cleanup batter and have him follow second baseman Hideto Asamura in the lineup.

“I want him to slam the ball all the way to the Ferris wheel,” Ishii said of the amusement ride located outside Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi’s left-field stands.