Jose Lopez headed to Japan’s Yomiuri Giants

Former All-Star infielder Jose Lopez is headed to Japan.

He has signed with the Yomiuri Giants of the Central League, the country’s most popular team and winner of the 2012 Japan Series. According to Nikkan Sports, he agreed to a one-year deal worth $911,000.

The 29-year-old Lopez has spent nine seasons in the majors and was an All-Star with Seattle in 2006. He also has played for the Chicago White Sox, Colorado, Florida and Cleveland. He has a career .262 average with 92 home runs and 480 RBIs.

Lopez played in 15 games last season for Chicago, spending most of the season in the International League. He was member of Venezuela’s team at the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

Yomiuri Giants Win Japan Series Title

Shinnosuke Abe led the Yomiuri Giants to the Central League pennant, nearly won the Triple Crown, and will more than likely be named CL MVP in a few weeks. His final swing of the season? Just the hit that helped deliver another Japan Series title to the Kyojin’s already crowded trophy case.

Abe drove in the tiebreaking run in the seventh and the Yomiuri bullpen took it from there, as the Giants won the Japan Series with a 4-3 victory over the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters in Game 6 on Saturday night at Tokyo Dome.

The Giants won the series 4-2 to claim their record 22nd title.

Yomiuri Giants: Japan’s oldest baseball club in turmoil at top

A high-profile mudslinging battle is raging at the very top of Japan’s oldest and arguably most popular professional baseball club, pitching a powerful media shogun against a former reporter.

Hidetoshi Kiyotake, who was fired as general manager of the Yomiuri Giants last week after criticising the club’s reputedly untouchable chairman, said on Friday he would take legal action against his sacking, possibly next month.

"My dismissal is illegal and unjust and was carried out as a means to cover up a breach of compliance and as a retaliatory measure against me," the 61-year-old former hard-hitting news reporter said.

Read the rest of the story: Baseball: Japan’s oldest club in turmoil at top.

Mets sign Hisanori Takahashi to minor league contract

The New York Mets today announced that they signed left-handed pitcher Hisanori Takahashi, first baseman Mike Jacobs and catcher Shawn Riggans to Minor League contracts and invited all three to Major League Spring Training camp.

Takahashi, who will turn 35 in April, was 10-6 with a 2.96 ERA in 25 games for the Yomiuri Giants last year in the Japanese Central League. The 5-10, 172-pounder helped Yomiuri capture its 21st Japan Series title in 2009. He was also part of the ’00 and ’02 Yomiuri championship teams.

He was 79-66 with 21 complete games, 15 saves and a 3.70 ERA in 10 seasons with Yomiuri. In 1,289 innings of work, he allowed 1,271 hits, 591 runs, 530 earned, with 359 walks and 1,032 strikeouts.

Takahashi’s best season came in 2007 when he posted a career-best 14 wins and a career-low 2.75 ERA.

Official Press Release

Yomiuri Giants celebrating more than just 75 years this 2009 with another CL pennant Win!

Yomiuri Giants manager Tatsunori Hara is racking up the frequent flier miles this year. Exactly six months to the day after piloting Japan to its second consecutive World Baseball Classic title, Hara was once again airborne doage-style, getting tossed aloft by his Giants players at Tokyo Dome on Wednesday after their 5-3 victory over the second-place Chunichi Dragons clinched the Central League pennant for Yomiuri.

Alex Ramirez and Yoshitomo Tani each homered and right-hander Wirfin Obispo worked seven solid innings to improve to 5-1 as the Giants clinched their third straight CL title and the club’s 33rd overall.

“We’re just going to take it day-by-day from now on,” said Ramirez, who drove in two runs on Wednesday. “The first stage has been cleared and now we’ve got to win the Climax Series, but our No. 1 goal is to win the Japan Series.”

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