Former major league reliever Takashi Saito will return to his roots, having agreed to play for the Rakuten Eagles, Kyodo News learned Friday.
The 42-year-old Saito is a Sendai native and played his college ball at Tohoku Fukushi University. He left the Yokohama BayStars to sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2006, collecting 39 saves and appearing in the All-Star Game the following year.
The deal could be announced as early as Saturday.
"We hope he does well with us to inspire the Tohoku region," Rakuten president Yozo Tachibana said. "We're counting on him to help the younger players by passing on his experience from the majors."
Saito's season this year was marred by injury and was limited to just 16 games. In his career in the majors, he went 21-15 with 84 saves and a 2.34 ERA.
The Eagles have also signed former Atlanta Braves star Andruw Jones this winter. Jones was arrested Tuesday for allegedly assaulting his wife under the influence.