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Dodgers a Bit Closer to Deal With Ishii

January 30, 2002

A lengthy negotiating session between the Dodgers and the agent for pitcher Kazuhisa Ishii failed to produce any significant results Tuesday, but the Japanese left-hander's representative seemed far more encouraged than he did last Tuesday, when he feared Ishii would not play in Los Angeles this season.

"I'm just a little more optimistic today than I was last week," said Joe Urbon, Ishii's agent. "Though there was very little movement, I felt [Tuesday] was a positive because of the tone of the conversation and their effort to understand where we are. At least they're willing to be creative and think of ways to close the gap."

The Dodgers' latest offer is believed to be in the three-year, $8-million range, up from the team's first two offers of $6 million and $7 million for three years. Urbon is believed to be seeking a deal in the three-year, $14-million range.

The Dodgers bid $11.26 million for the rights to negotiate with Ishii, an amount that will go to the Yakult Swallows, Ishii's Japanese team, if Ishii signs with the Dodgers by the Feb. 8 deadline.

Urbon said Ishii would like the situation resolved by early next week so the pitcher can finalize plans to join the Dodgers in Vero Beach, Fla., by Feb. 14 or to begin spring training with the Swallows on Feb. 10.

Mike DiGiovanna

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