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Fujikawa fired up about return to Tigers

Kyodo

Returning Hanshin Tigers reliever Kyuji Fujikawa said Tuesday he’ll happily give his all to his old team, even if it meant collapsing on the field.

The 35-year-old right-hander is rejoining the Tigers on a two-year deal worth an estimated ¥400 million ($3.3 million) after two-plus seasons in the United States.

“I feel amazingly happy to be resolved to giving body and soul to the Tigers — even if it means collapsing on the field,” he told a news conference.

“My job is to become a trustworthy and useful player. It’s up to the manager how he wants to use me,” he said in reference to former teammate and newly appointed manager Tomoaki Kanemoto.

Fujikawa, who shares NPB’s single-season save record with 47, pitched in 29 big league games with 1-1 record, two saves and a 5.74 ERA. He spent two seasons with the Chicago Cubs, during which time he had Tommy John surgery.

He joined the Texas Rangers last spring, but left the United States during the season to play for his hometown team, the Kochi Fighting Dogs of the independent Shikoku Island Plus League.

During his first stint with the Tigers from 2000-2012, Fujikawa posted a 42-25 record in 562 games with 220 saves and a 1.77 ERA.