Bryan LaHair headed to Japan

Updated: November 21, 2012, 8:36 PM ET
ESPNChicago.com

The Chicago Cubs designated first baseman Bryan LaHair for assignment, the team announced Tuesday.

LaHair then reached a two-year, $4 million agreement with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks in Japan. The Cubs received $950,000 in the deal, a source told ESPN.

An unlikely 2012 All-Star in his first full season in the major leagues, LaHair, 30, batted .286 with 14 home runs and 30 RBIs before the All-Star break but fell to .202 with two home runs and 10 RBIs after it. He lost the first-base job to top prospect Anthony Rizzo in June and served as a bench player the rest of the season.

"I'm just taking all the positives out of this year, I'm not taking any negatives," LaHair said Oct. 3. "I got a chance to play early this year, and I did well. I played off the bench in the second half, and I thought I did well."

The Cubs also added four players to their 40-man roster Tuesday: right-handed pitcher Trey McNutt from Double-A Tennessee, infielder Christian Villanueva from Class A Daytona, infielder Logan Watkins from Tennessee and right-handed pitcher Robert Whitenack from Daytona.

The Cubs opened up a spot on the 40-man roster when they traded pitcher Jake Brigham back to the Texas Rangers for right-handed pitcher Barret Loux and a player to be named. Brigham was acquired from the Rangers for catcher Geovany Soto on July 31.

Loux, 23, was named the 2012 Double-A Texas League Pitcher of the Year after going 14-1 with a 3.47 ERA. He led the Texas League in wins.

Information from ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney and ESPNChicago.com's Sahadev Sharma was used in this report.

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