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Oakland Athletics Win Negotiating Rights for Japanese Pitcher Iwakuma

(Corrects spelling of Iwakuma in final paragraph.)

The Oakland Athletics won the negotiating rights for Japanese pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma, a member of the All-Tournament Team at the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

The Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Japan’s Pacific League accepted the highest bid for Hisashi, a 29-year-old right- hander, Major League Baseball said in a news release. Terms of the bid weren’t disclosed.

The Athletics have 30 days to sign Iwakuma to a major- or minor-league contract.

Iwakuma has won 44 games over the past three seasons for the Golden Eagles, posting a 2.82 earned run average this year, a 3.25 ERA in 2009 and a 1.87 ERA in 2008, when he went 21-4.

Iwakuma was 1-1 with a 1.35 ERA in three starts and a relief appearance as Japan won the World Baseball Classic last year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mason Levinson in New York at mlevinson@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net.

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