Red Sox lining up minor deal for veteran Kuwata

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NEW YORK, Dec. 11 (22:08) Kyodo

The Boston Red Sox are lining up a move for veteran former
Yomiuri Giants right-hander Masumi Kuwata, Major League Baseball
sources revealed Monday.

The Red Sox, who have already acquired Japanese reliever Hideki
Okajima and look set to sign Seibu Lions ace Daisuke Matsuzaka, are
expected to offer Kuwata a minor league contract that will include
bonuses if he is promoted to the majors.

With target Kuwata in mind, Boston applied for a work permit for
a Japanese player in mid-November and is awaiting acceptance of the
application from the U.S. government, according to the sources.

Anthony Nakanishi, who was involved in negotiations for
Okajima's move to the Red Sox and is working as an advisor for
Kuwata, said, ''I can't give you the name of the team but one has
made moves to secure a visa.''

The 38-year-old Kuwata last month decided to leave the Yomiuri
Giants after 21 seasons with the club to try for a move to the United

He has been in contact with other major league teams but at
present Boston is the only team known to have applied for the kind of
permit required for a first-year minor leaguer.

Kuwata's hopes of playing in North America at the start of next
season appeared to have suffered a setback because of red tape for a
work permit.

Major league officials last week said they had been told off the
record by the U.S. government that it has already issued the maximum
number of permits that allow non-Americans to play in the minors,
meaning Kuwata would have had to wait until next April to be issued a

Kuwata posted one win this past season on April 1 but was
relegated to Yomiuri's farm team with a right-ankle injury on April
29 and finished the season with a 1-1 record without regaining
promotion back to the top team.

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