Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 11/21/12
PHOENIX The Diamondbacks have an interest in Seibu Lions shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima for their shortstop position. Nakajima visited the D-backs facilities at Chase Field this week, although it may have been more of an information-gathering exercise. Negotiations are not believed to have started, and a D-backs source said it is unlikely that the teamwill make any move, at shortstop or otherwise, before the start of the winter meetings Dec. 3. Nakajima, 30, is a free agent, eligible to sign with anyone, and the D-backs saw him play during their organizational visit to Japan in August. PresidentCEO Derrick Hall, general manager Kevin Towers and senior advisor Bob Gebhard were among the front office members on the trip. The New York Yankees paid Seibu a 2 million posting fee after the 2011 season for the exclusive major league negotiating rights to Nakajima, but the sides failed to reach agreement on a contract last winter and Nakajima returned to Seibu, where he hit .311 with 29 doubles, 13 home runs and 74 RBI. The D-backs do not have to pay another posting fee, since it is a one-time move. Cliff Pennington is penciled in as the D-backs shortstop after being acquired from Oakland in the three-team deal Nov. 20 in which they also acquired Heath Bell from Miami and sent center fielder Chris Young to the As, but the D-backs continue to investigate the shortstop market. A major league source familiar with the D-backs said theteam is looking at "several options." Willie Bloomquist and John McDonald remain in the mix, although the D-backs appear to prefer Bloomquist in a handyman role moving forward. Nakajima, a right-handed hitter, joined the Japanese professional league in 2003 and has spent all but one of his 10 professional seasons with Seibu, where he had 16 home runs and a career-high 100 RBIs in 2011. He has four 20-homer seasons and three 20-stolen base seasons. He is a four-time All-Star and played on the 2009 Japanese team that won the World Baseball Classic, getting two doubles and two RBI in a 9-4 semifinal victory over team USA. Nakajima won a Gold Glove in 2008, and also has played third base. Japanese infield contemporaries Munenori Kawasaki and Tsuyoshi Nishioka have had a difficult adjustment to the U.S. game in recent years. Kawasaki, 31, hit .192 in 61 games with Seattle last season, his first in the majors after signing a one-year contract for 625,000. Nishioka hit .226 with Minnesota in 2011 and was released in September after playing only three games in the majors last year. Nishioka, 28, signed a two-year, 6 million with Minnesota before the 2011 season. Follow Jack Magruder on Twitter
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