Softbank ace Saito to have shoulder surgery, miss season's start

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FUKUOKA, Jan. 6 (19:34) Kyodo

Softbank Hawks right-hander Kazumi Saito will have endoscopic
surgery to repair a damaged rotator cuff in his pitching shoulder at
a U.S. hospital on Wednesday, the club said Sunday.

It is unknown how long Saito will be out for, and Softbank
likely will be forced to spend the early part of the season without
the ace pitcher.

Saito once opted to rehab the shoulder when he underwent an
examination in the United States after a 2007 season plagued by
shoulder muscle fatigue.

But Saito revisited the United States and the latest examination
found he has not recovered enough muscle strength.

''I decided to undergo surgery due to an increased possibility
that I might be in a situation similar to last season's,'' Saito said.

He had a 6-3 record with a 2.74 ERA in 12 starts in 2007 after
sweeping four major Pacific League pitching titles the previous year
with 18 wins, a 1.75 ERA, a .783 winning percentage and 205

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