Braves Sign Japanese Star Pitcher

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ATLANTA (AP) - The Atlanta Braves have reached agreement with
Japanese all-star pitcher Kenshin Kawakami (KEHN'-shihn
kah-wah-KAH'-mee) on a three-year contract.

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
that country available this offseason. The 33-year-old right-hander
went 9-5 for the Chunichi (chee-NEE'-chee) Dragons last year, when
he missed several weeks because of a back strain.

Kawakami will be introduced in Atlanta today - the same day the
Boston Red Sox hold a news conference to announce they have signed
former longtime Braves pitcher John Smoltz.