Baseball: Slugger Despaigne, Hawks ink 3-year deal

SPORTS

The SoftBank Hawks added three years worth of offensive firepower on Saturday, when they completed the long-anticipated deal with star Cuban slugger Alfredo Despaigne.

The 30-year-old outfielder and designated hitter spent the past two-and-a-half seasons with Pacific League-rival the Lotte Marines. He has batted .277 with 54 home runs in 282 career games, scoring 156 runs and driving in 187.

"I will do my utmost to contribute to a championship," Despaigne said in a statement released by the Hawks.

Despaigne will be in Japan from the start of March, when he will suit up for Cuba in the World Baseball Classic. Cuba and Japan will kick off Pool B at Tokyo Dome on March 7, in a group that also includes Australia and China.

The acquisition is big for the Hawks, who failed to win a third-straight PL and Japan Series title last season after slugging South Korean Lee Dae Ho, the 2015 Series MVP, left for the majors.

==Kyodo

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