Team Eyes Japanese Pitcher

By Jorge Arangure Jr.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 15, 2006

NEW YORK, Aug. 14 -- The Baltimore Orioles will at least inquire if Japan's Daisuke Matsuzaka, 25, who starred this spring in the World Baseball Classic, is made available by the Seibu Lions this offseason, according to one team official. Matsuzaka is under contract, but there are reports the Lions could put the pitcher up for bid. A team winning the rights to Matsuzaka, 3-0 with a 1.38 ERA in the WBC, would then have to negotiate a deal with him.

"Certainly there's interest," said John Stockstill, who is in charge of Baltimore's professional and international scouting. "It's a matter of whether there is comparable interest" from them.

The Orioles would be considered long shots to sign Matsuzaka, whose name is most often linked with the New York Yankees and Seattle Mariners. But the Orioles, who recently reached a financial agreement with Comcast in a dispute over the MASN television network, could decide to make a big splash internationally. The Orioles traditionally have not been heavily involved in the Asian market, but that could change.

"The Orioles are interested in any market that makes them better and they need to be," Stockstill said.

One report said the bidding for Matsuzaka could reach $30 million.

Friendly Feud

Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts joked that his home run against pitcher Kyle Snyder on Sunday may have ended a longtime friendship. On Friday, Roberts hit a ball up the middle that almost struck Snyder in the head.

"He's like a brother to me, and he's still trying to make his way and get established at the big league level," said Roberts, who played at the University of North Carolina with Snyder before transferring to the University of South Carolina. "I'd preferably like to not face him at all."

UP NEXT Today at Yankees 7:05 p.m. Bedard (12-8, 3.91) vs. Mussina (13-5, 3.50) Comcast SportsNet, WTEM-980 Tomorrow at Yankees 7:05 p.m. Loewen (2-4, 6.41) vs. Lidle (1-1, 3.60) Comcast SportsNet, WTEM-980

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