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Saturday, Dec. 18, 2004

No end in sight in Orix-Iwakuma talks

KOBE (Kyodo) Right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma failed Friday to get the green light on a trade from the Orix Buffaloes after the fourth round of talks with the Pacific League team created through the merger between the Orix BlueWave and Kintetsu Buffaloes.

News photo
Orix Buffaloes hurler Hisashi Iwakuma expresses his frustration at a press conference after failing to reach an agreement on his release from the team.

Iwakuma, who does not want to play for the merged team, has been adamant in his request to be traded in a cash deal to the newly formed Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles but has been unable to convince Orix club president Takashi Koizumi to let him leave.

Koizumi, however, is hell-bent on keeping the 23-year-old and has left no room for compromise.

"There is no way that we plan to bend on this matter. I'd like to continue meeting with him until we can persuade him to stay with the club. We have no time limit," Koizumi said.

Iwakuma, however, is apparently fed up with the meetings and is hoping the players' association will take over the negotiations with Orix on his behalf to grant him the trade.

PL President Tadao Koike, who has expressed his "strong hope" that Iwakuma play for Orix for one season before pursuing the possibility of a trade, said he doubts the stalemate can be resolved by the end of the year.

Fighters sign Darvish

Star prospect Yu Darvish signed a provisional deal with the Nippon Ham Fighters on Friday, becoming the last of the 82 newly drafted players to agree on a contract with a pro baseball team.

The 18-year-old fastballer will be earning the maximum amount allowed to Japanese rookies -- 15 million yen -- in annual salary in addition to performance-related incentives of up to 50 million yen, and a signing bonus of 100 million yen.

Iwamura waits on offer

Yakult Swallows outfielder Akinori Iwamura declined a 180 million yen offer from the team on Friday as he hopes to move to the majors next season through the posting system.



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