Kyodo sports news summary

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TOKYO, Nov. 14 (23:44) Kyodo

Baseball: Akiyama refuses to clarify plans for closer Mahara

NAGOYA - Softbank Hawks manager Koji Akiyama declined Monday to
discuss his plans for struggling closer Takahiro Mahara for the rest
of the Japan Series.

Asked when and how he will use Mahara next time, Akiyama only
said, ''We'll see.''

Soccer: Airport checks delay Japan training in N. Korea for World Cup

PYONGYANG - Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni put his players
through their paces in a training session delayed by three hours
after the Asian champions arrived Monday in Pyongyang ahead of their
World Cup qualifier against North Korea.

The players, many of them wearing knit caps and gloves, trained
in bitterly cold conditions on the artificial pitch at Kim Il Sung
Stadium, which midfielder Yasuhito Endo said would not affect Japan's

Soccer: Relegated Yamagata to cut ties with manager Kobayashi

TOKYO - Relegated Montedio Yamagata will not be renewing manager
Shinji Kobayashi's contract for next season, the J-League
first-division club said Monday.

The 51-year-old former Cerezo Osaka and Oita Trinita boss will
remain in charge for Yamagata's last three league games and their
Emperor's Cup campaign.

Golf: Ishikawa ready to fly flag for Japan at Presidents Cup

TOKYO - Ryo Ishikawa departed for Australia on Monday determined
to give a good account of himself and Japanese golf at this week's
Presidents Cup.

Ishikawa has been selected for the International team in the
biennial event against the United States starting at Royal Melbourne
Golf Club on Thursday. The 20-year-old will be appearing at the
tournament for the second time.

Baseball: Rakuten pitcher Tanaka wins Sawamura Award

TOKYO - Rakuten Eagles right-hander Masahiro Tanaka won his
first Sawamura Award on Monday, the award given annually to the best
pitcher in Japan.

Tanaka led the Pacific League with 19 wins, a 1.27 earned run
average and a .792 winning percentage in the fifth season of his

Sumo: Kotoshogiku serves up another tasty win on ozeki debut

FUKUOKA - Ozeki debutant Kotoshogiku put Goeido on his backside
to make it two wins out of two, while Kisenosato took another step
towards ozeki promotion with a convincing win at the Kyushu Grand
Sumo Tournament on Monday.

Lone yokozuna Hakuho, who won his 20th Emperor's Cup at the
autumn basho in September, also turned on the style to stay perfect
with a routine victory over No. 1 maegashira Okinoumi (0-2) at the
15-day meet.

Baseball: Orix signs former Padres pitcher Baek

KOBE - The Orix Buffaloes said Monday they have signed South
Korean former major league pitcher Baek Cha Seung on a one-year deal.

The 31-year-old right-hander, who had spells in the big leagues
with the Seattle Mariners and the San Diego Padres, had been on trial
with the Buffaloes at their fall training camp.

Golf: Ai Miyazato takes 4th place at Lorena Ochoa Invitational

GUADALAJARA, Mexico - Japan's Ai Miyazato played through the
pain barrier to finish tied for fourth at the Lorena Ochoa
Invitational on Sunday.

Struggling with stomach problems from the morning, Miyazato
overcame a double bogey and a bogey to reel off four birdies en route
to a 71 and a total of 5-under 283 at Guadalajara Country Club.

Soccer: Lee braces for emotional 'return' as Japan ride into N. Korea

BEIJING - For Tadanari Lee, the trip to Pyongyang for Tuesday's
World Cup qualifier against North Korea means slightly more than it
does for the rest of his Japan teammates.

It will be something of a return to his roots for the
25-year-old striker, who became a Japanese citizen only four years

Baseball: Dragons hope to finish Japan Series in Nagoya

NAGOYA - History suggests the Chunichi Dragons will bring a
triumphant end to the Hiromitsu Ochiai era.

The Dragons won the first two games of the Japan Series at the
Softbank Hawks' Yahoo Dome last weekend, and 10 of 12 teams that took
Games 1 and 2 at their opponent's home stadium have won the
championship series.

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