Braves, Orioles Eyeing Kenshin Kawakami

11:14pm: Yahoo’s Tim Brown says the Braves were aggressive on Kawakami even before John Smoltz left, so the Japanese pitcher is in a good position.  Brown’s list of Kawakami suitors includes some new clubs.  He names the Braves, Cardinals, Red Sox, Twins, Pirates, Orioles, and possibly Yankees.

A Nikkan Sports article about Kawakami (in Japanese) has been making the rounds lately.  I asked Patrick Newman about it; apparently it says Kawakami has advanced to final negotiations with the Braves.  My guess is that this report jumped the gun.

8:34pm: Steve Melewski of MASN reports that the Orioles are still in the hunt for Japanese pitcher Kenshin Kawakami.

"The O’s remain in the mix, no question," a source told MASN. "They’ve showed a strong pursuit of Kawakami."  Baltimore has already signed another Japanese import, Koji Uehara, but are looking for more starting pitching depth.  Kawakami, 34, has a career record of 106-62 and a 3.17 ERA in Japan.  The O’s extended an offer to him at the end of December, but he’s obviously keeping his options open.  The Braves, Twins and Cardinals are also believed to have interest.

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