Kyodo sports news summary

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TOKYO, Dec. 14 (23:46) Kyodo

Soccer: Retired former Japan star Nakata meets press

TOKYO - Former Japanese soccer icon Hidetoshi Nakata on Friday
made his first appearance at a press conference in Japan since his
retirement and said he will help promote the sport in cooperation
with world governing body FIFA.

''I feel like I've finally come to realize the magnitude of
soccer after ending my playing career and it'll be fun if I can do
something through soccer,'' Nakata said at a FIFA press conference
held in Tokyo on the sidelines of the Club World Cup.

Baseball: Hanshin acquires former Twins outfielder Ford

OSAKA - The Hanshin Tigers said Friday they have acquired
outfielder Lew Ford, who spent the past five seasons with the
Minnesota Twins.

The 31-year-old Ford hit .233 with three homers and 14 RBIs in
55 major league games this year. He had career highs of 15 homers, 72
RBIs and 20 stolen bases in 2004.

Baseball: NPB denies steroid use in Japan

TOKYO - Acting Nippon Professional Baseball commissioner
Yasuchika Negoro on Friday categorically denied the use of
performance-enhancing substances in Japanese baseball.

''Our monitoring of the use of banned substances has been
working properly,'' Negoro said following the release of former U.S.
Sen. George Mitchell's report on steroid use in the major leagues
that cites cases involving players currently active in Japan.

Baseball: Right-hander Sikorski rejoins Lotte

CHIBA, Japan - The Lotte Marines said Friday they have agreed on
a one-year 70 million yen deal with right-hander Brian Sikorski, who
played for the Yakult Swallows this year.

Sikorski has a 22-22 record with nine saves in his career in
Japan, which includes a three-year stint with Lotte that began in
2001. The 33-year-old also played for the Yomiuri Giants before
joining the Swallows in 2007.

Baseball: Fukumori agrees to 2-year deal with Rangers: report

NEW YORK - Japanese free agent reliever Kazuo Fukumori has
agreed to terms on a two-year contract with the Texas Rangers, reported Thursday.

''One night after dispatching one Japanese relief pitcher
(Akinori Otsuka) from their roster, the Rangers added another
Thursday by agreeing to terms on a two-year, $3 million contract with
right-hander Kazuo Fukumori,'' said the official website of Major
League Baseball.

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