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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Iwamura set to rejoin Rakuten


SENDAI — Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles infielder Akinori Iwamura is poised to rejoin the team for the first time this season, the team said Wednesday. The former major leaguer, who strained his right calf muscle during practice in March, will be with the club from Thursday, even if he is not up to speed defensively.

"We will call on Iwamura," said head coach Koichi Tabuchi. "Sure, defense is important, but you have to score runs. There are consequences if you don't make the pitchers' jobs easier by scoring runs."

The Eagles have scored just 154 runs, just two more than the Seibu Lions' Pacific League-low of 152, while hitting a Japan-low 14 home runs.

Iwamura, who has battled injuries since joining the Sendai club in 2011, has batted .323 in 23 Eastern League games this season. He appeared in 77 first-team games last season and batted .183 with no home runs.

Lions sign Ortiz


The Seibu Lions have signed slugging infielder Jose Ortiz, the team said Wednesday. The Lions, who are last in the Pacific League in runs scored, will be the 34-year-old's fourth PL team.

Ortiz, who has hit .273 with 126 home runs in seven seasons in Japan, came to the plate just 205 times in 80 games last season for the Japan Series champion Fukuoka Softbank Hawks and was not re-signed.

He began his career in Japan with Orix in 2003 and hit 57 home runs in two seasons with the BlueWave. Ortiz played for the Chiba Lotte Marines in 2007 and 2008 before moving to Fukuoka the following season.

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