Hawks acquire former major leaguer Igarashi

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FUKUOKA, Nov. 16 (19:58) Kyodo

The Softbank Hawks said Friday they have acquired former major
leaguer Ryota Igarashi on a three-year deal that will pay the
right-hander an estimated annual salary of up to 600 million yen.

The 33-year-old Igarashi, who will return to Japan after playing
three years in the big leagues, will hold a press conference for his
official unveiling on Saturday. Igarashi is part of the team's plan
to add depth to its bullpen.

"I've heard he's been able to perfect a style with his breaking
pitches never seen before," said Softbank scouting officer Shigeru
Ishiwata. "He still has a lot of velocity."

The Chiba native pitched in his last game in the majors in a
relief appearance for the New York Yankees at Toronto where he
allowed three runs and three hits in two innings on Aug. 12.

Igarashi joined the Yakult Swallows in 1998 and was the Central
League leader with 37 saves in 2004. He joined the New York Mets in
2010 and made 34 appearances, pitching another 45 times in relief for
the Mets in 2011.

He spent parts of the 2012 season with the Toronto Blue Jays and
the Yankees, but was limited to just four games after beginning the
year in the minors. Igarashi has a 5-2 record with a 6.41 ERA in 83
major league games.

Igarashi is the second player the Hawks has aimed for in its
offseason dealings to strengthen the pitching staff, with a deal
close on signing free agent Hayato Terahara from the Orix Buffaloes.

"Whatever the case, we want to return to being Japan Series
champions. To do that, we are willing to put a lot of emphasis on
having solid pitching," said Ishiwata.

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