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Former New York Yankees pitcher Hideki Irabu has come out of retirement and signed a contract with Long Beach Armada of the independent Golden Baseball League, his management revealed Monday.

Released by the Hanshin Tigers in the 2004 offseason, the 39-year-old Irabu started training at the start of the year with an eye on making his comeback and is set to return to the mound in May for his first competitive game in five years.

Irabu had a 72-69 career record with a 3.55 earned run average and 11 saves in 11 seasons in Japanese baseball, playing for the Chiba Lotte Marines (1988-1996) and the Hanshin Tigers (2003-2004).

The right-hander made his major league debut in 1997 with the Yankees and won two World Series rings with the Bronx club. He also had stints with the Montreal Expos and the Texas Rangers, putting together a 34-35 record with 16 saves in a six-year career in the majors.

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