Softbank Hawks Sign Hideki Okajima

The Softbank Hawks have signed Hideki Okajima, according to Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker. The Hawks announced the Okajima signing at a press conference. Okajima is represented by Joe Rosen.

The 36-year-old lefty looked to be jumping from one division rival to another earlier this offseason when he signed with the Yankees, but a failed physical due to left shoulder concerns voided the deal. According to Newman, Okajima downplayed concerns over his shoulder and told reporters he is eager to "show what he did in America." This will mark Okajima's first season back in his native Japan since 2006. He's appeared in Boston's bullpen in each of the past five seasons, albeit very briefly in 2011.

Okajima has recorded a 3.11 ERA in 246 1/3 Major League innings, with a 7.9 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, and 36.8% groundball rate. His strikeouts have dipped heavily since the 2008 season, however, and in 2010 his control began eluding him as well. He walked five batters in just 8 1/3 innings in 2011 before being designated for assignment in May when the Sox acquired Franklin Morales. Okajima has earned a total of $7MM in his MLB career to date, according to Baseball Reference.

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