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Eagles sign Sendai native Saito

Kyodo

Former major league reliever Takashi Saito made his return to Japanese baseball official, agreeing to a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, the club said Saturday.

The 42-year-old right-handed Saito, who hails from the club’s home in Sendai and is returning to Japanese baseball for the first time in eight years, will receive a base salary of ¥30 million plus performance-based incentives.

“I am extremely happy that I was able to sign a contract with Rakuten,” Saito said in a statement. “I want to aim for a championship together with my new teammates and team staff.”

Saito joined the then-Yokohama Taiyo Whales from Tohoku Fukushi University in 1992 as a first-round draft pick. He left Yokohama to sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2006, and posted 39 saves the following year to earn a spot in the All-Star Game.

This year, Saito’s season was plagued by injury and he was limited to just 16 games. In his major league career, he went 21-15 with 84 saves and a 2.34 ERA in 338 games.