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O's express interest in Japanese pitchers

Orioles president Andy MacPhail confirmed that he met with the agents for Japanese pitchers Kenshin Kawakami and Koji Uehara today, though he described the meetings as very preliminary and speculated the process of gauging interest and determining value will take quite a while.

Both MacPhail and Kawakami's agent characterized their meeting as a "fact-finding mission" and said no offers or proposals were exchanged.

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"We just had a preliminary meeting,'' said agent Dan Evans. "We're trying to meet with as many clubs as we possibly can. We're just getting started. Our company just [began representing] him three weeks ago. I don't want to characterize their interest, but there is definite interest on their part."

Evans said he was impressed with the Orioles grasp of the "infrastructure" necessary for a Asian pitcher to make a successful entry into the major leagues.

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"They are aware of the things you have to do on and off the field," Evans said, "which is great to see for a team that has not been involved in this area before. I can't say enough about what Andy MacPhail and John Stockstill have done."


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