Dexter Fowler gets his World Series ring, hits a homer in return to Wrigley

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This afternoon Dexter Fowler made his first visit back to Wrigley Field since he signed with the St. Louis Cardinals this past offseason. He was given a warm welcome. He was also given his World Series ring.

Anthony Rizzo and Jason Heyward presented the ring to Fowler during a pregame ceremony with Joe Maddon, Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer looking on. Then, a few minutes later, Fowler smacked a home run on the game’s sixth pitch. That was given a warmer response from the Wrigley Field crowd than most opposing player homers, but a fan threw the ball back on the field all the same.

Fandom is fandom.

Fowler hit .276 with 13 homers and a .393 on-base percentage in 125 games last season, making the All-Star team for the first time and, of course, helping the Cubs win the World Series. Then he went to their arch rivals on a five-year, $82.5 million contract.

Business is business.

Japanese outfielder Yoshida to negotiate with MLB teams

Masataka Yoshida
Yukihito Taguchi/USA TODAY Sports
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SAN DIEGO — Outfielder Masataka Yoshida will be able to negotiate with Major League Baseball teams starting Wednesday under the posting system with the Japanese big leagues.

A member of Japan’s Olympic team last year, Yoshida will be posted at 8 a.m. EST on Wednesday and MLB teams have until 5 p.m. EST on Jan. 20 to reach an agreement, the commissioner’s office said Tuesday.

The 29-year-old hit .335 with 21 homers and 88 RBIs in 119 games this year for the Orix Buffaloes of Japan’s Pacific League. A left-handed batter, he has a .327 average with 133 homers and 467 RBIs over seven seasons in the Japanese majors.

Yoshida hit .350 with two RBIs as Japan won last year’s Olympic gold medal.

Under 2017 changes to the posting system, the posting fee will be 20% of the first $25 million of a major league contract, including earned bonuses and options. The percentage drops to 17.5% of the next $25 million and 15% of any amount over $50 million. There would be a supplemental fee of 15% of any earned bonuses, salary escalators and exercised options.

Hard-throwing right-hander Kodai Senga, another member of the Olympic team, is a free agent and does not have to go through the posting system because he has 11 seasons of service time in the Japanese major leagues.

Senga, who turns 30 in January, was 11-6 with a 1.94 ERA in 22 starts for the Pacific League’s Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks. He pitched three scoreless innings in two outings against the U.S. in the Olympics, allowing one hit and striking out six with two walks.