Yakult to bid for southpaw K. Ishii

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TOKYO, Dec. 19 (19:22) Kyodo

The Yakult Swallows will launch a bid to regain the services of
left-hander Kazuhisa Ishii, who was cut by the New York Mets last
month, club president Yoshikazu Tagiku said Monday.

Tagiku said he plans to have new player-manager and former
battery mate Atsuya Furuta hold talks with Ishii, who has voiced his
intention to look for a deal with a team either in the major leagues
or Japan if it assures him a spot in the starting rotation.

''We're ready to open talks with Ishii. I'll leave it up to
Furuta,'' Tagiku said.

The Mets said on Nov. 15 that they did not exercise the option
on Ishii for the next season, making the 32-year-old a free agent.

Ishii lost his spot in the Mets rotation in midseason and was
sent to Triple-A Norfolk on Aug. 6 after going 3-9 with a 5.04 ERA in
16 starts. He was recalled in early September and made three mound
appearances by the end of the season, but all in relief.

Ishii has a 39-34 career record with a 4.44 ERA in four years in
the major leagues, three with the Los Angeles Dodgers and one with
the Mets. He won 14 games in 2002 and 13 games in 2004.

Earlier in his career, Ishii posted a 78-46 record with a 3.38
EAR and 1,277 strikeouts in 244 games over 10 seasons with Yakult.

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