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Yankees and reliever Hideki Okajima agree to terms on a deal

NEW YORK – The Yankees will offer Hideki Okajima a chance to help fill out their bullpen, agreeing to terms with the former Red Sox left-hander on a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training. Okajima, 36, was an effective force for Boston in his first few seasons after coming to the Majors, but fell out of favor with the Red Sox and spent most of this season at Triple-A Pawtucket.

Though he has also had success against right-handed batters, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said that the club is considering Okajima as a left-handed specialist. “He’s somebody that definitely can get left-handers out,” Cashman said. “We’ll see what it looks like when we get to Spring Training.”

Okajima was limited to just seven big league outings in 2011, all of them coming in April and May. Okajima was 1-0 with a 4.32 ERA in 8 1/3 innings. The Red Sox did not recall Okajima when rosters expanded in September, despite a 2.29 ERA in 34 appearances at Triple-A, spanning 51 innings.

Okajima came to the Major Leagues in 2007 after pitching with the Yomiuri Giants and Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan. He compiled a big league record of 17-8 with six saves and a 3.11 ERA in 261 appearances with Boston, holding left-handed batters to a .218 batting average.

Watch Hideki Okajima’s unique delivery of looking away from the batter as he pitches the ball,

via Yankees and reliever Hideki Okajima agree to terms on a Minor League deal | News.


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