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Kawakami deal may be nearly done

POSTED: January 13, 2009 12:11 a.m.
Kathy Willens/The Associated Press

This Aug. 20 file photo shows Japan's Kenshin Kawakami pitching against the United States in the Beijing 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Kawakami was in Atlanta on Monday for a physical needed to finalize an agreement with the Braves, according to a person with knowledge of the negotiations.

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ATLANTA — Japanese all-star pitcher Kenshin Kawakami was in Atlanta on Monday for a physical needed to finalize an agreement with the Braves, according to a person with knowledge of the negotiations.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal was not yet final.

Kawakami, the 2004 Central League MVP, has won 112 games in 11 seasons in Japan and was regarded as one of the top free-agent pitchers from Japan available this offseason. The 33-year-old was 9-5 for the Chunichi Dragons last year, when he missed several weeks because of a back strain.

The 5-foot-10 right-hander would be an important addition to a Braves rotation that has lost John Smoltz and Mike Hampton to free agency and may be without Tim Hudson, who is recovering from elbow ligament replacement surgery.

Atlanta is monitoring Tom Glavine’s attempt to return from elbow surgery, but Glavine remains unsigned.



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