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Report: Kapler signs with Japanese team

Former Red Sox outfielder Gabe Kapler has signed a one-year contract to play with the Yomiuri Giants as reported on the Boston Dirt Dogs website earlier today. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the contract was believed to be worth $2 million plus an undisclosed signing bonus according to a report published on several online Japanese news outlets.

"He spent the better part of a week really agonizing over the decision," agent Paul Cohen said Monday. "He really felt at this point in his career, he wanted the guarantee to play."

Kapler said he and his family are excited to go to Japan and he is eager to show his "energetic" playing style according to translated reports from Japanese newspaper websites. The report said that Kapler “has won a world championship in the U.S., now he wants to become a champion in Japan.”

The report also states that "(Kapler is) the type of player who will answer Giants Manager (Tsuneo) Horiuchi's desire to strengthen the "Center Line" of defense with his wide range of defense and strong (throwing) shoulder."

Kapler, known for his aggressive and gritty effort in the field and on the basepaths, played in 136 games with the Red Sox in 2004, batting .272 with six home runs and 33 RBI. The seven-year veteran earned $750,000 last season.

Prior to joining the Red Sox in 2003, Kapler began the 2003 season with the Colorado Rockies and appeared in 39 games before being optioned to Triple-A Colorado Springs on June 4. Kapler played in 10 games with Colorado Springs, hitting .200 (6-30), and was released on June 20. Four days later the Red Sox signed him.

He made a sensational debut with on June 28, 2003, going 4-5 with three RBI against the Florida Marlins. In his second start with Boston, Kapler continued his torrid hitting, going 3-4 with two HR, three runs scored and four RBI.

With Manny Ramirez, Johnny Damon and Trot Nixon all under contract, the Red Sox starting outfield seems set for next season. They also have outfielder Dave Roberts, a starter with Los Angeles before Boston acquired him July 31.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report. 

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