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1/11/2012: Hideki Matsui, Hiroki Kuroda, Wei-Ying Chen

by on Jan.11, 2012 @ 10:46 am, under MLB

Hideki Matsui played catch on Tuesday for the first time in about three months and felt no pain.  His trainer also told reporters that Matsui is running light on his feet and that he should be fine on defense.

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Via Nikkan Sports: ESPN's Ramona Shelburne provides the following update on Hiroki Kuroda:

Colletti offered a clue to how the team is approaching this season by noting that he had been talking to free-agent pitcher Hiroki Kuroda's agents up until a few days ago about "other ways to figure this out" because "we used the money we would've had for him and had to spread it out some."

Colletti wouldn't specify what options were discussed. But the only options that would've worked under those parameters essentially would be a back-loaded, two-year deal, or something that wouldn't have impacted the team's Opening Day payroll so deeply.

"We've stayed in it, but I think at this point in time we've probably exhausted the different choices," Colletti said. "I think he's going to end with an American League club, from what I can gather.

"He pitched well here. He was competitive, good to have on the club, competitive. As you look back on the four years, some of the bigger games we had here he ended up pitching pretty well. We'll miss him. He adjusted well to America and from all indications from him and his family, it was a good experience for him too."

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Hisashi Iwakuma worked out in Sendai on Tuesday.  Iwakuma plans to head to the US some time this month (once he squares away his work visa).

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The Baltimore Sun's Dan Connolly has the following update on Wei-Ying Chen:

Here's Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette on various subjects:

On newly signed left-handed starter Wei-Yin Chen, who agreed to a three-year deal (with a 2015 club option) that will be worth roughly $11 million to $12 million: "He's got good stuff. He's got a good fastball and very good control and a good breaking ball. He's really a pretty polished pitcher. Chen has the physical capabilities to be a front-line starter. ...  I was glad to sign him, because I think he can help our team. I like his pitches. I like the structure of the contract. I hope it ends up being a good one. Could be a good one. He's only 26. He has the stuff, the pitches to be a good major league pitcher. There's only a few left-handers in the big leagues with his stuff."

On concerns that Chen's fastball velocity dropped into the 80s this year: "His velocity fluctuated some this year during the season, but I believe that was attributed to an oblique strain. At the end of the year, in the playoffs, his velocity was at 92, 94 [mph]. His velocity was down during a portion of the season, but it was back up at the end of the season."

The Associated Press also has a break of the deal:

Chen gets a $250,000 signing bonus and salaries of $3,072,000 this year, $3,572,000 in 2013 and $4,072,000 in 2014. The Orioles have a $4.75 million option for 2015 with a $372,000 buyout.

Nikkan Sports mentions that a press conference is scheduled to take place in Nagoya on 1/17.