THE NEWBERG REPORT — DECEMBER 12, 2007

Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports that Texas is on the verge of signing Japanese reliever Kazuo Fukumori to “at least a two-year deal.” The righthander went 4-2, 4.75 with 17 saves for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles in 2007, a season in which he was beset by elbow issues that ultimately resulted in surgery to remove bone chips.

In the three years Fukumori has pitched for the Golden Eagles, he’s logged 124 strikeouts in 157 innings. In 2005, he went 4-3, 3.57 with 11 saves, and in 2006 he went 0-3, 2.17 with 21 saves. I’ve seen indications on the Web that he’s 31 and others suggesting he’s 33.

Dr. Lewis Yocum cleared Fukumori’s elbow in October. He’s reportedly a guy who works in the 88-91 range and features a splitter. He’s not likely a closer candidate but instead someone who could figure in as a seventh- or eighth-inning guy. Just last week the Yankees reportedly entered the eight- or 10-team mix to sign Fukumori.

Outfielder Kosuke Fukudome is apparently spurning the Rangers and ignoring Akinori Otsuka’s advice and is about to sign with the Cubs. Rumors are that it will be a four-year deal for somewhere around $50 million.

Outfielder Milton Bradley is expected to undergo his physical examination for Texas today.

The Rangers signed righthanders Franklyn German, Jake Dittler, Adalberto Flores and Alfredo Gonzalez, lefthanders Eric Cyr and Carlos A. Perez, and shortstop Corey Ragsdale to minor league deals. Only German gets an invite to big league camp.

Milwaukee got outfielder Laynce Nix through waivers and outrighted him to AAA Nashville.

The Brewers designated outfielder Kevin Mench for assignment.

Oakland signed lefthander Ryan Wing to a minor league contract.

Tampa Bay hired Jared Sandberg to serve as a Class A coach.

Gotta cut this one short today. More details on some of the above next time.

You can read more from Jamey Newberg at www.NewbergReport.com.

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