A’s making another attempt at Japan’s Hisashi Iwakuma

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The A’s put up a $19 million posting fee last winter for the right to negotiate exclusively with Japanese righty Hisashi Iwakuma. The two sides failed to work out a contract, and that money was returned to Oakland after the 30-day negotiating period.

But now that Iwakuma is a free agent, Billy Beane and Co. are going to try again.

According to Joe Stiglich of the Contra Costa Times, the Athletics are “one of four teams” with interest in Iwakuma, who posted a 2.42 ERA and 90/19 K/BB ratio in 119 innings this past year for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball. He registered a 2.82 ERA and 153/36 K/BB ratio across 201 frames in 2010.

Iwakuma, a native of Tokyo, stands 6-foot-3 and is listed at 170 pounds. He’ll turn 31 years old in April.

Justin Verlander earns 200th career win

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Astros starter Justin Verlander wasn’t his usual dominant self on Sunday against the Athletics, but he was good enough to get the win. In doing so, he earned the 200th win of his career, becoming the 117th member of the 200-win club.

Verlander went 5 1/3 innings, yielding four runs (all earned) on seven hits and a walk with six strikeouts. On the season, Verlander is now 12-8 with a 2.65 ERA and a 223/29 K/BB ratio in 169 2/3 innings. Sunday’s win helped the Astros stave off the surging A’s. The Astros now have a one-game lead in the AL West.

Only two active pitchers have more wins than Verlander: Bartolo Colon (247) and CC Sabathia (244). Zack Greinke will likely be the next member of the 200-win club as he currently has 184 to his name.