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Nori Aoki returns to Japan on a three-year deal with the Yakult Swallows

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Nori Aoki has agreed to a three-year contract with with the Yakult Swallows of the NPB. He’ll make $9.19 million over that span. He played the first eight seasons of his career with Yakult as well.

Probably a smart deal for Aoki who, despite proving himself in Major League Baseball over the past six seasons with a .285/.350/.387 line, was not getting much interest on the free agent market and likely would’ve had to settle for a minor league deal with a spring training invite. Even if he made a team on such a deal he’d likely make only around a million bucks and now he’s guaranteed more than triple that for the next three years.

Aoki, who is 36, played over 758 games in his big league career in stints with the Brewers, where he had his most success, and th Royals, Mariners, Giants, Astros, Mets, and Blue Jays.

Rafael Devers won’t visit White House with Red Sox

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The World Series champion Red Sox are scheduled to visit President Trump in the White House on February 15. Some have speculated that manager Álex Cora, who is from Puerto Rico and has been critical of Trump and has been a big factor in Hurricane Maria relief efforts, might not go as a form of protest. Thus far, nothing concrete has been reported on that front.

However, third baseman Rafael Devers says he isn’t going to join the Red Sox on their visit to the White House, Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston reports. Devers would prefer to focus on baseball, as the Red Sox open spring training on February 13 and position players have to report on February 17. Per Chris Mason, Devers also said via a translator, “The opportunity was presented and I just wasn’t compelled to go.”

Devers hails from the Dominican Republic and he, like many of Major League Baseball’s foreign-born player base, might not be happy about Trump’s immigration policies. Understandably, he is being tight-lipped about his motivation, but it wouldn’t be surprising if Devers is making a silent protest by choosing not to attend. He is thus far the only member of the team to bow out.

Devers, 22, hit .240/.298/.433 with 21 home runs, 66 RBI, and 59 runs scored in 490 plate appearances last season.

Last year, when the Astros visited Trump at the White House, they did so without Carlos Correa and Carlos Beltrán. Both are from Puerto Rico. It is certainly not unprecedented for individual players to opt out of the White House visit.

No word yet on what food will be served during Boston’s trip to the nation’s capital, but the smart money is on hamberders.