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Health concerns slow finalizing of deal between Dodgers, Kenta Maeda

Completion of the deal between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Japanese pitcher Kenta Maeda have been held up over health concerns with the right-hander, sources told ESPN.

Despite the concerns, however, the deal is expected to be finalized within the next day or so, an MLB source told ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick.

The Dodgers have scheduled a 4 p.m. ET news conference for Thursday, presumably to announce it.

The sides agreed to a deal before the new year, but a source told Crasnick that concerns arose over he pitcher's elbow during a physical. A source told ESPN's Jim Bowden that the Dodgers also see an issue with Maeda's shoulder and that a ligament in his elbow is indeed compromised. However, the 27-year-old has been pitching with both issues.

According to a source, the Dodgers know that Maeda will require surgery at some point but feel that signing him is still worth it if they can get three or four useful years out of him.

Maeda is a two-time winner of the Sawamura Award, which is given to Japan's top pitcher. He was posted by the Hiroshima Carp on Dec. 4.

Under the posting system, MLB teams could earn the right to negotiate with Maeda for 30 days by agreeing to pay Hiroshima a maximum fee of $20 million. The fee is in addition to whatever salary the Dodgers might pay Maeda.

Maeda matched a career high in wins this past season, with a 15-8 record and a 2.09 ERA. He helped Japan win the bronze medal at the Premier12 tournament in November.

Maeda is not eligible for free agency until 2017. He first asked Hiroshima to post him two years ago, but the team declined.

The agreement came after the Dodgers signed veteran left-hander Scott Kazmir to a three-year deal. That gave the Dodgers an all-left-handed rotation, with Clayton Kershaw, Kazmir, Brett Anderson, Alex Wood and perhaps Hyun-Jin Ryu. Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi had said earlier in the offseason that such a situation wasn't ideal, particularly if L.A. would run into a team that hits lefties in the playoffs.

The Dodgers lost right-hander Zack Greinke to the Arizona Diamondbacks in free agency.

Information from ESPN's Mark Saxon and The Associated Press was used in this report.