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[12/6/2013] Norichika Aoki, Hiroki Kuroda, Ichiro Suzuki

by on Dec.06, 2013 @ 10:46 pm, under MLB

Norichika Aoki has been traded to the Kansas City Royals.  From MLB.com's Dick Kaegel:

... Norichika Aoki, who spent his two big league seasons with Milwaukee, was acquired from the Brewers in exchange for left-handed pitcher Will Smith.

Aoki, 31, a left-handed hitter from Japan, is expected to take over the leadoff spot in the Royals' lineup so that left fielder Alex Gordon can move permanently into the middle of the order. Aoki was the Brewers' right fielder, which is Beltran's position.

... The Royals will have Aoki under control for just the 2014 season, after which he will become a free agent despite having just three years of Major League service time. His original contract with the Brewers -- as is customary with players signed out of Japan -- stipulated he would become an untethered free agent when it expired. But he comes to the Royals at a relative bargain, $1.95 million for the year.

... "[Sveum] likes him as a leadoff hitter and likes his ability to play right, but feels like he can play center as well," Moore said. "But the most important thing he does for us is he sets up our lineup to lead off and get on base, put the ball in play and steal bases. We think his success ratio on stolen bases can improve. We like his energy, we like his work ethic."

If Beltran were to sign with the Royals, the team is comfortable that Aoki could play center field, his primary position in eight seasons with the Tokyo Yakult Swallows in Japan.

"We like him as above-average in right field and feel like he can play center. His routes are very good, he plays pretty deep but he comes in on the ball very well, and we think that he has enough athleticism and experience to play center field," Moore said. "[His arm has a] quick release, on target, actually better than it appears when you watch him throw live. It plays up during the game and he's a smart, instinctive player."

Source: MLB.com 12/5/2013

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The latest on Hiroki Kuroda, from MLB.com's Bryan Hoch:

Hiroki Kuroda not only intends to continue pitching in 2014, but the right-hander is interested in a third season with the Yankees, according to general manager Brian Cashman.

"He wants to come back," Cashman said on Thursday at Yankee Stadium. "He's going to pitch, but whether he's going to pitch here or Japan or somewhere else here [in the United States], I don't know yet. All indications are he is definitely interested in coming back to the Yankees. That's the indication, but there's no guarantee."

Source: MLB.com 12/5/2013

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Amy Franz tweeted that she got a package from Ichiro Suzuki that contained the wristband he wore when he recorded his 4,000th hit.