Patrick Newman at NPB Tracker passes along a report which says that hard-throwing reliever Ryota Igarashi has decided to pursue a Major League contract for 2010. We first learned that Igarashi qualified for international free agency back in June.
The 30-year-old has spent his entire 11-year career with the Tokyo Yakult Swallows, posting a 3.25 ERA with 630 strikeouts in 570 IP over 507 appearances. He's hooked on with agent Arn Tellem, who also represents Hideki Matsui. Patrick profiled Igarashi back in May. At 98.75 mph, Igarashi holds the record for the fastest pitch thrown by a Japanese pitcher in a NPB game.