Swallows announce Iwamura signing

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TOKYO, Dec. 10 (17:56) Kyodo

The Yakult Swallows announced Monday they have signed
33-year-old infielder Akinori Iwamura, who will return to the club
for the first time since 2006.

Iwamura, who suffered a calf injury in March and a thigh injury
in September, was released following a season in which he batted .209
in 26 games for the Rakuten Eagles. Iwamura has 1,119 career hits and
189 homers in Japan after signing out of high school as the Swallows'
second-round draft pick in 1996.

Iwamura played three seasons for the Tampa Bay Rays, who
acquired him ahead of the 2007 season through the posting system. A
winner of six Central League Golden Glove Awards at third base,
Iwamura became the Rays' second baseman in 2008, the year they won
the American League pennant. He finished his big league career in
2010 with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Oakland Athletics. Iwamura
batted .267 with a .345 on-base percentage and 16 homers over four
major league seasons.

In November 2011, the Eagles signed Iwamura to a two-year deal
worth 300 million yen plus performance-based incentives, but the
left-handed hitter batted just .190 with one homer and 14 RBIs in 103
games with the Eagles.

"He accomplished so much before he went to the majors. I hope he
can show some of that form next year," Swallows team president
Tsuyoshi Kinugasa said.

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