Kyodo sports news summary

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TOKYO, April 1 (22:57) Kyodo

Soccer: J-League overhauls league cup into knockout event

TOKYO - The J-League has changed the format of the league cup
competition into a straight up knockout tournament following the
recent quake-triggered cancellation of matches in March and April.

The J-League announced Friday that the Nabisco Cup will start on
June 5 with the first leg of the first round involving 14 clubs, less
the four involved in the Asian Champions League -- Nagoya Grampus,
Gamba and Cerezo Osaka, and Kashima Antlers.

Baseball: Saito makes season debut in Brewers' loss to Reds

NEW YORK - The Milwaukee Brewers began their major league season
with a loss on Thursday as the Cincinnati Reds came back in dramatic
form with a 7-6 win on opening day.

Japanese reliever Takashi Saito made his regular season debut
with the Brewers and earned his first hold with the club after he
pitched a scoreless eighth inning against the reigning National
League Central Division champions.

Golf: Mika Miyazato upstages Ai, off to fast start at Kraft Nabisco

RANCHO MIRAGE, California - Mika Miyazato had a strong start to
the LPGA Tour's first major of the season, firing a bogey free 67 at
the Kraft Nabisco Championship to sit in third behind Brittany
Lincicome and Stacy Lewis on Thursday.

The lesser known Miyazato birdied her first three holes before
wrapping up the round with her fifth birdie, staying a stroke off the
pace with Sandra Gal of Germany in the $2 million event.

Golf: Japan men's tour follows Ishikawa in donating 200 mil. yen

TOKYO - The Japanese men's tour followed in the footsteps of its
poster boy Ryo Ishikawa by announcing a donation of 200 million yen
on Friday for the victims of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Ishikawa said Wednesday that he would donate all earnings this
season to relief efforts for the disaster, in which 28,000 people had
been confirmed dead or remained unaccounted for as of Friday.

Baseball: Quake-hit Eagles sign potential closer Sanchez

TOKYO - The Rakuten Eagles hope to have addressed their closer
situation after signing former major leaguer Romulo Sanchez to a
one-year, 40 million yen contract on Friday.

The 26-year-old Sanchez has a 1-0 record with one save and a
4.04 ERA in 35 2/3 innings with the New York Yankees and the
Pittsburgh Pirates. Rakuten manager Senichi Hoshino said he had been
checking up on Sanchez for some time.

Baseball: Marines pick up former D-Back Rosa

CHIBA, Japan - The Lotte Marines signed former Arizona
Diamondbacks reliever Carlos Rosa, the Japan Series champions
announced Friday.

The 26-year-old Rosa's deal is for one year at 37.8 million yen.
The Marines hope Rosa can help in the bullpen after they lost free
agent closer Hiro Kobayashi to the Hanshin Tigers in the offseason.

Golf: JLPGA to start again with April 15 Nishijin Ladies Classic

TOKYO - The Japan LPGA will restart its season on April 15 with
the Nishijin Ladies Classic after four straight cancellations, the
tour announced Friday.

The JLPGA had been suspended since the earthquake and tsunami
ravished eastern Japan on March 11. South Korea's Park In Bee won the
season-opening Daikin Orchid Ladies on March 6.

Sumo: Stablemaster Tanigawa, 19 wrestlers booted for match fixing

TOKYO - Stablemaster Tanigawa and 19 wrestlers were forced into
retirement by the Japan Sumo Association for match fixing on Friday
evening, but closure seems far from certain with a potential legal
battle looming on the horizon.

Six from the top-tier makuuchi division -- Hakuba, Kasugao,
Tokusegawa, Koryu, Mokonami and Kotokasuga -- were among the 19 asked
to quit by the JSA, which also demoted 17 coaches for their
wrestlers' involvement in the worst scandal in the sport's history.

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