Kyodo sports news summary

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TOKYO, March 28 (23:57) Kyodo

Baseball: Ichiro gets 4 hits as Mariners win season opener in Japan

TOKYO - Ichiro Suzuki got off to a hot start to his 12th major
league season with four hits as the Seattle Mariners beat the Oakland
Athletics 3-1 in 11 innings Wednesday in the opening game of 2012.

Dustin Ackley singled in the go-ahead run and Suzuki followed
with an RBI single of his own in the top of the 11th inning before a
sellout crowd of 44,227 at Tokyo Dome.

Figure skating: Takahashi-Tran 3rd after pairs SP at world c'ships

NICE, France - Japan's Narumi Takahashi and partner Mervin Tran
got off to a fine start in placing third in the pairs short program
as the main competition got underway at the figure skating world
championships in Nice, France, on Wednesday.

Narumi and Canadian-born Tran earned a personal best score of
65.37 points to sit behind defending champions Aliona Savchenko and
Robin Szolkowy of Germany (68.63) and China's Pang Qing and Tong Jian

Table Tennis: Japan's men pick up 3rd win at team worlds

DORTMUND, Germany - Jun Mizutani put Japan on the road to
victory as the men's team blanked Russia three games to none to
improve to 3-1 along with Belarus in Group D at the world team table
tennis championships on Wednesday.

Mizutani saw off Alexander Shibaev in straight sets in the
opening game, Koki Niwa came from behind to beat Alexey Smirnov and
Kenji Matsudaira outlasted Kirill Skachkov to complete victory for
fourth-ranked Japan over the sixth-ranked Russians.

Soccer: Okazaki back in training with Stuttgart

COLOGNE - Stuttgart's Japan international striker Shinji Okazaki
returned to training Wednesday after being sidelined with damaged
knee ligaments.

But the Bundesliga club said they would continue to monitor
Okazaki's progress before deciding if he is fit to play at Shinji
Kagawa's table-topping Dortmund on Friday.

Soccer: FC Tokyo midfielder Kawano out for 4 weeks

TOKYO - FC Tokyo midfielder Hiroki Kawano will be sidelined for
four weeks with a thigh strain, the J-League first division club said

The 21-year-old sustained the injury when he pulled muscles in
his left thigh during training on March 16.

Baseball: Former Yankees hurler Igawa joins Orix

OSAKA - The Orix Buffaloes on Wednesday announced the
acquisition of former New York Yankees left-hander Kei Igawa, one of
the most expensive Japanese flops ever to play in the major leagues.

Igawa, 32, had been hoping to continue playing in the United
States but did not receive any offers after his five-year contact
with the Yankees expired last year.

Golf: Ai Miyazato paired with Lincicome for 1st LPGA major of season

RANCHO MIRAGE, California - Japanese ace Ai Miyazato was pitted
against a former winner as the first- and second-round pairings were
announced Tuesday for the Kraft Nabisco Championship -- the first
LPGA major of the 2012 season.

Former world No. 1 Miyazato, fifth at last week's Kia Classic,
is paired with 2009 champion Brittany Lincicome of the United States,
while namesake Mika Miyazato was drawn against former LPGA
Championship winner Anna Nordqvist of Sweden at Mission Hills Country
Club in Rancho Mirage, California.

Boxing: Sato in 'comfortable pain' after WBC super flyweight win

TOKYO - Yota Sato admitted he was feeling battered and bruised
but said Wednesday he was in ''comfortable pain'' a day after taking
the WBC super flyweight title off Thai champion Suriyan Sorrungvisai.

The 27-year-old Sato went 12 rounds with Suriyan at Korakuen
Hall before the judges crowned him the new champion by unanimous
decision in his first crack at a world title.

Sumo: Mongolian wrestler Kakuryu promoted to ozeki

TOKYO - The Japan Sumo Association on Wednesday formally decided
to promote Mongolian wrestler Kakuryu to sumo's second highest rank
of ozeki.

Kakuryu, who flirted with championship victory at last week's
Spring Grand Sumo Tournament before losing to yokozuna Hakuho in a
playoff, becomes the first wrestler to attain the rank since
Kisenosato at the Kyushu basho last November.

Baseball: Wada roughed up for 4 runs against Twins

SARASOTA, Florida - Baltimore Orioles lefty Tsuyoshi Wada gave
up four runs in his first start of the spring on Tuesday, pitching
three innings in a 5-0 loss to the Minnesota Twins.

The game marked Wada's second appearance in the Grapefruit
League play since recovering from an elbow inflammation earlier in
camp. He threw a total of 62 pitches, striking out three batters and
allowing two walks.

Nishikori ousted by Nadal in Miami

MIAMI, Florida - Japan's Kei Nishikori fell to world No. 2
Rafael Nadal of Spain 6-4, 6-4 in the last 16 of the Sony Ericsson
Open on Tuesday.

The 22-year-old Nishikori came out strong, capitalizing on the
last of seven early break chances to take a 2-1 lead in the first set.

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