Kaz Matsui to join Rakuten

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TOKYO, Nov. 24 (19:46) Kyodo

Former major league infielder Kazuo Matsui is set to join the
Rakuten Eagles, sources said Wednesday.

Free agent Matsui, who will be returning to Japanese baseball
next year for the first time since 2003, has reached an agreement
with Rakuten and an official announcement is expected to be made in
the coming days.

Akinori Iwamura has already signed with Rakuten after coming
back from the big leagues.

Matsui, who turns 36 next year, last played in Japan with the
Seibu Lions before signing as a free agent with the New York Mets in
2004 to become the first Japanese infielder in the majors.

He had been linked with several Japanese teams, among them the
Orix Buffaloes, before turning down their offers.

The switch-hitting Matsui was waived by the Houston Astros in
May and finished the season with the Triple A affiliate of his former
team, the Colorado Rockies, who he played with in the 2007 World

Matsui appeared in just 27 games for the Astros this season,
hitting a meager .141. In seven years in the majors, he averaged .267
while stealing a total of 102 bases.

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