Yankees win right to negotiate with Japanese SS

Associated Press  |  Last updated December 07, 2011
Wanting to add a backup infielder following injuries to Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez last season, the New York Yankees won negotiating rights to shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima of the Seibu Lions in Japan's Pacific League. Major League Baseball announced Wednesday the Yankees had the highest bid in the posting process. New York has 30 days to reach an agreement with Nakajima and will pay the posting fee only if an agreement is reached. The posting fee for the 29-year-old is about $2 million. ''This is about acquiring talented players to put them on our club,'' Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. ''He'll be asked to do a number of things.'' Nakajima hit .297 with 16 homers and 100 RBIs this season for the Lions, captaining the team. He played at the 2008 Olympics and attracted attention in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, when he batted .364 with six walks and six RBIs in seven games as Japan won the title. He had a pair of RBI doubles when Japan eliminated the United States in the semifinals. New York says it would have room for both Nakajima and Eduardo Nunez as reserve infielders. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Nakajima, a regular shortstop in Japan, could back up Jeter, A-Rod and second baseman Robinson Cano. ''High character guy. They named him captain for a reason,'' Cashman said. ''His reputation is extremely high, and his abilities are impressive.''
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