Baseball: Eagles add former Phillies, Nationals slugger Franco

The Rakuten Eagles announced the signing Thursday of former Washington Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies infielder Maikel Franco as an overseas free agent for the next Nippon Professional Baseball season.

The 30-year-old, right-handed hitter from the Dominican Republic has notched 130 home runs in a nine-year major league career also including stints with the Kansas City Royals and Baltimore Orioles.

He averaged .229 with nine homers and 39 RBIs in 103 games for the Nationals this year.

Listed as a third baseman with Washington, Franco can also play first base. He debuted in the majors with the Phillies in 2014 and hit 20 or more home runs in three straight seasons for the club from 2016 to 2018.

The Sendai-based Eagles are looking for additional offensive firepower to improve on their fourth-place finish in the Pacific League this year.

In a statement from the club, Franco said he looked forward to playing in front of the Eagles' fans and would work hard to help the team win.

© Kyodo News