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DODGERS WIN NAKAMURA'S RIGHTS.

Byline: Tony Jackson Staff Writer

The Dodgers learned Monday that they have won the right to negotiate with free-agent Japanese third baseman Norihiro Nakamura. Those negotiations are expected to begin today.

The Dodgers on Friday submitted the highest bid for Nakamura, 31, and that money - an undisclosed amount - goes to the Kintetsu Buffaloes, for whom Nakamura played the past 13 seasons. The Dodgers probably will sign Nakamura to a minor-league contract, invite him to major-league spring training and give him a chance to make the opening-day roster.

It isn't clear what Nakamura will do if he doesn't make the club. If there is an out clause in his new contract, he could simply return to the Buffaloes rather than accept an assignment to Triple-A Las Vegas. Even if he does make the Dodgers' major-league roster, Nakamura will be a backup player and probably won't make more than about $500,000 this season.

Nakamura would become the third high-profile Japanese player to jump to the Dodgers in the past 11 years, joining Hideo Nomo and Kazuhisa Ishii.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Feb 1, 2005
Words:176
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