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Arizona Diamondbacks still alive in Tanaka sweepstakes; meeting planned

FILE - In this Dec. 17, 2013 file photo, Rakuten Golden Eagles pitcher Masahiro Tanaka speaks at a press conference after a meeting with his club president, in Sendai, northern Japan. Tanaka's team says it has decided to let him seek his career in Major League baseball next season, reversing its earlier rejection. Rakuten Eagles president Yozo Tachibana told a news conference Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2013 that it has decided to release him through the posting system. (AP Photo/Kyodo News, File)

Arizona Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers has gone all-in on acquiring Japanese pitching star Masahiro Tanaka, and hasn't lost the hand yet.

According to Jon Heyman of, Tanaka and his representatives are headed to the United States and will meet with as many as 12 teams by Friday. The D-backs -- along with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees -- are one of those teams.

The Dodgers, Angels, Cubs, Yankees and Diamondbacks have long been known to have a keen interest in the 25-year-old righthander who went a magical 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA for Rakuten, and earned virtual free agency via a revamped posting system that only will require the winning team to give $20 million to Rakuten, far short of what the Japanese teams received for previous Japanese pitching stars Daisuke Matsuzaka and Yu Darvish.

In seven seasons with Rakuten in the Japan Pacific League, Tanaka posted a 99-35 record with a 2.30 ERA.

Whatever team signs Tanaka is expected to commit well over $100 million, in addition to the $20 million posting fee.

Tanaka must sign with a Major League team by January 24, or he'll have to return to Japan next season.

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