Veteran MLB infielder Jose Lopez is nearing an agreement with the NPB's Yomiuri Giants in Japan, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports:
Jose Lopez getting close to a deal with Tokyo Yomiuri Giants. Lopez, 29, hit .246 w/ #chisox, #indians last yr— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 26, 2012
It was reported last week that Lopez was closing in on a deal with the Houston Astros because he underwent a physical in town, but it turns out the exam was carried out for Yomiuri, according to Heyman.
Lopez broke into the big leagues with the Mariners in 2004 -- at age 20 -- and worked his way into the starting second-base role by the 2006 season. The right-handed hitter never dominated in the batter's box, but he did put up solid offensive numbers in 2008-2009, racking up 42 home runs in a two-season span.
After struggling in 2010 -- his seventh big-league season with the Seattle Mariners -- Lopez was traded and has bounced around to four different organizations in the last two years, hitting just .231/.258/.364 with 12 home runs in 163 games over that span.
Lopez is just one of several veteran MLBers headed to the Far East next season. Andruw Jones, Casey McGehee, Fred Lewis and Hector Luna will be joining Lopez in Japan, while Dana Eveland, Scott Richmond, and Aneury Rodriguez are headed to South Korea.