Right-handed hurler Kazuhisa Makita is heading back to his native Japan. The Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles have announced his signing.
Makita jumped the Pacific in 2017-18, landing a two-year deal with the Padres. While he was able to generate quite a few more strikeouts in the majors (9.5 per nine) than he averaged over his prior tenure in Japan (5.0), the submariner was also prone to the long ball and surrendered a 5.40 ERA over 35 innings in his debut campaign.
While the Friars lost their bet that Makita’s low-eighties sinker would sufficiently befuddle MLB hitters, he was quite effective last year in the upper minors. In 70 1/3 frames across 43 Double-A and Triple-A appearances, he worked to a 3.33 ERA with 8.6 K/9 against 1.4 BB/9. The showing did not convince the San Diego organization to give him another crack at the majors.
Now, Makita will attempt to pick up where he left off in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball. But he’ll do so with a rival of his former team. Before coming to the bigs, Makita had compiled 921 1/3 innings of 2.83 ERA pitching over seven seasons with the Seibu Lions.