Marines count on ex-Swallow Whitesell for pop

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CHIBA, Japan, Dec. 28 (16:13) Kyodo

The Lotte Marines signed former Yakult Swallows infielder Josh
Whitesell to a one-year contract worth $300,000 on Wednesday.

The Marines hit just 46 home runs this year -- the worst total
among the 12 teams in Japanese baseball -- and are counting on the
29-year-old Whitesell to have a 30-homer season in 2012.

Whitesell, however, has been limited to 27 home runs and a .274
batting average in two seasons with the Swallows.

''We're expecting him to hit 30 home runs for us,'' Lotte team
president Iekuni Nakamura said. ''We hope he can spark our offense.''

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