Oakland Athletics sign Hideki Okajima

A's, lefty agree to Minor League deal with Spring Training invite
02/11/2013 3:39 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro

Hideki Okajima was an All-Star and finished sixth in AL Rookie of the Year voting in 2007.(AP)
The Oakland Athletics have signed left-handed reliever Hideki Okajima to a Minor League deal with an invitation to Spring Training, a pact finalized when Okajima passed his physical on Tuesday.

Okajima, 37, was signed to a Minor League deal with a Spring Training invite by the Yankees last year, but failed his physical and never made it to camp. He ended up spending 2012 in Japan, where he pitched to a 0.94 ERA in 47 2/3 innings for the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks.

In late January, the Hawks released Okajima from his contract so he could pursue MLB opportunities once again; Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe’s reported on Feb. 3 that several teams were interested, and Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle first reported last week that it was Oakland who appeared to be the winner of the bidding.

Okajima spent all five of his previous seasons in MLB (2007-11) with the Red Sox organization, posting a 3.11 ERA in 261 total appearances from 2007-11 and making the American League All-Star Team in his rookie season.

The lefty is the second key member of Boston’s 2007 World Series Championship staff to agree to a Minor League deal in as many days, following Daisuke Matsuzaka, who signed with Cleveland on Monday.

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