Softbank pitcher K. Saito signs new salary deal

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FUKUOKA, Dec. 22 (19:49) Kyodo

Softbank Hawks right-hander Kazumi Saito signed a new salary
deal worth an estimated 250 million yen in annual salary plus
incentives on Friday after a stellar season that saw him sweep four
major pitching titles in the Pacific League.

The signing was for the second year of his three-year contract.
Saito led the league with 18 wins, a 1.75 ERA, 205 strikeouts and a
.783 winning percentage, leaving Seibu Lions right-hander Daisuke
Matsuzaka, who signed with the Boston Red Sox last week, in second in
all those categories with 17 wins, a 2.13 ERA, 200 strikeouts and a
.773 winning percentage.

The 29-year-old Saito also became the first Pacific League
player to win the Sawamura Award for the second time, the award
traditionally given to the best pitcher in Japanese baseball.

''I received many awards, but what's left was the fact that we
missed out on the league title (for the third consecutive season),''
Saito said. ''We cannot fail next year.''

In Tokyo, the Yakult Swallows said they have agreed with
infielder Adam Riggs on a new two-year contract worth an estimated $3
million plus incentives.

Riggs batted .294 with 39 homers, the third in the Central
League, and 94 RBIs in 142 games in 2006, his second year with the

Yakult has also agreed to a new two-year contract with
right-hander Dicky Gonzalez, who went 9-7 with a 3.15 ERA in 17

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