Curacao native Wladimir Balentien is going to stay in Nippon Professional Baseball. The 27-year-old outfielder, who played for the Seattle Mariners and Cincinnati Reds in Major League Baseball, won the homerun title in the Central League last year. He returns to the Yakult Swallows with a $750,000 one-year contract. The Swallows already had added Orlando Roman and Lastings Milledge as foreign players this winter.
Meanwhile in the United States right-handed pitcher Jair Jurrjens of the Atlanta Braves avoided an arbitration hearing with his employer, when he agreed on a new one-year contract over $5.5 million. Leading the National League with an ERA of 1.89 in the first half of 2011, he missed most of the second half with a knee injury. During the offseason the Braves seem to be interested in trading the right-hander for offensive help, but didn’t find the right deal. However this could still happen even after his salary for the upcoming year has been set. He remains under team control through the 2013 season.