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Luhnow, pro scout explore opportunities in Japan

HOUSTON -- Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow recently returned from a five-day trip to Japan with pro scouting director Kevin Goldstein, where they met with representatives from several teams to explore collaborative relationships, watched some games and interviewed candidates for a new scouting position.

"It was a very successful trip," Luhnow said. "Kevin Goldstein did a terrific job organizing it, and we really felt like this is an important first step for us in re-engaging our activity in Japan and hopefully, eventually signing some good Japanese players."

After the Yankees signed Masahiro Tanaka, Luhnow was struck by the fact that Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said they had a scout at every one of his starts for the previous two years. With that in mind, Luhnow wants to hire a Japan-based scout who is bilingual, bicultural, has played baseball and can help the team better evaluate talent the next time the Astros are in the hunt for a premium Japanese player.

Luhnow said he wouldn't rule out the Astros playing some games in Japan at some point.

"Playing games internationally is a great way to expand knowledge, whether it's awareness of the game, but also the Astros," he said. "We've talked about maybe doing something in Latin America. I wouldn't be opposed to doing something that -- doing something in Asia, Europe."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.
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